Utah Jazz: Paul Millsap's heroics will live in lore

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 7:32 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap drives to the basket during his career night. (Associated Press) Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap drives to the basket during his career night. (Associated Press)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Time will only tell how high the Millsap Masterpiece will be ranked in Utah Jazz lore.

But Paul Millsap's 46-point career night and the Jazz's stunning come-from-behind 116-114 overtime win Tuesday at Miami undoubtedly belongs up there.

Somewhere alongside the legendary games in franchise history — Sundiata Gaines' 3-pointer, Darrell Griffith's late-game, lightning-and-rainbow show, the 34-point second-half rally against Denver and, of course, The Pass and The Shot.

It was so incredible it almost made 18-point rallies for wins over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and at Orlando Wednesday pale in comparison.

All of the elements of a classic were there for the centerpiece of the comebacks.

It had vaunted villains on an absurdly hyped team that would get little resistance — outside of ESPN and other national media organizations that grease the wheels of the hype machine — if it was renamed the Miami Hate.

It was also remarkable for things it didn't have.

No fouled-out Deron Williams, the team's leader and All-Star playmaker, for OT and the final four seconds of regulation when a game-tying play needed to be made?

No struggling Al Jefferson for the final 1,138 seconds after he was sent to the bench never to return with a couple of minutes remaining in the third quarter?

No signs of an offensive pulse in the first half for the Jazz while falling behind by 22 points?

No problem.

The Jazz had Millsap.

Razzing teammates refer to him as Miss Bettye's son. Everybody else could call him the Miami Heat-killer after he scorched the South Beach squad and set the NBA, Jazz, social media and sports worlds on fire with his sizzling shooting, which included three 3-point buckets and an overtime-forcing buzzer putback.

Millsap's 11-point explosion came in a rapid 28.7-second flurry that will be talked about in Jazz — and anti-LeBron — circles for years to come.

This from a 6-foot-8 power forward who brought a career 2-for-20 mark from 3-point land coming into the game.

"We tried to get the ball out of D-Will's hands, and Paul just kept jacking them up and kept making them go in," James said. "It definitely surprised us."

Clever posters on Twitter made Millsap a trending topic on his monstrous night, joking that he could beat up Chuck Norris, claiming he flew the team plane to Orlando and saying Miami had been Paul Mill-slapped.

Millsap, who had career-highs in points (46), field goals (19-for-28) and 3-pointers (3-for-3), not only outplayed Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on this night. He did the unthinkable by overshadowing the King himself.

Were you aware James had a triple-double?

Don't worry. Millsap made everybody else forget, too.

Count NBA-TV analyst Chris Webber among the flabbergasted.

The former standout power forward said the Jazz "didn't have a chance," what with Mehmet Okur being out, Williams' early struggles, the huge hole and Miami's three-headed mamba, a collection he called "three of the best players that has ever (been) assembled" in NBA history.

"You would not assume that this would happen tonight," Webber said.

Which only makes the Millsap Masterpiece all the more memorable.

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