Well, how’s that for a performance against the Super Friends of Miami? Not only are the Miami Heat the team that every basketball fan has been talking about since “The Decision” aired on ESPN, but they have been the real deal on the basketball court as they have been “Super Stingy” on defense as well. That is, of course, until Paul Millsap decided to teach LBJ and the Heat a lesson about team stacking and its relative lack of importance to the Utah Jazz.
Yes, Paul Millsap of Louisiana Tech University scored 46 points against the “supposed-to-be 82-0″ Miami Heat (including a basket at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime). Included in his 46-point explosion, Millsap hit three 3-pointers in addition to scoring 11 points in a 30-second span. Millsap’s courageous performance against a heavy favorite on the road, and in a game in which the road team trailed by 22 points in the second quarter, shows everybody exactly what makes the Utah Jazz so special.
Not only do the Jazz make the most out of the talent that they have, but they are a team that plays with a ton of heart as well. If they did not have each of those ingredients there is no way they win a game like last night. And it was no aberration either; the Jazz have been overcoming huge deficits for as long as I can remember. It just seems like whoever Jerry Sloan throws out on the court does exactly what needs to be done, and they play with the same verve, intensity, and heart that makes them a playoff contender every season in the Western Conference.
If you look at the player statistics, minus Millsap’s ridiculous stat-line, you would probably assume that Miami won the game going away. LBJ had his 29th career triple-double, Dwyane Wade had 39 points, and Chris Bosh had 17 & 9. The Jazz, on the other hand, had a nice performance out of D-Will who had his typical double-double, but he fouled out! In addition, if you look at Al Jefferson’s numbers (yes, the same Al Jefferson who is supposed to be a 1-2 punch with D-Will), he had a measly 2 points! If I told you before the game that Al Jefferson was going to have 2 points and D-Will was going to foul out, you would have said that Miami clobbers the Jazz at home. But that didn’t happen. Why? Because the Jazz keep on fighting!
If they need to call on Paul Millsap for a few miracles, they’ll do it. If they need to call on Ronnie Price to take over at point guard for overtime, they’ll do it. If they need to call on Francisco Elson to sink his free throws with 0.4 seconds left to win the game, they’ll do it. The three names I just mentioned (Millsap, Price, Elson) are clearly not a triumvirate of players that the league would refer to as a “Big 3,” but apparently that doesn’t matter because that “Little 3″ was able to help the Utah Jazz defeat the “Biggest 3″ in the league (and possibly in league history). And that was with a 22-point spotting. Whazzup, Miami!!! Winning comes from the heart, and the Jazz showed that once again on Tuesday night in Miami.