Utah Jazz: Millsap provides spark in key second-quarter stretch
Utah's 'other' power forward had a pretty good night, too.
While Carlos Boozer led the Jazz to a 105-86 victory over Chicago on Thanksgiving at EnergySolutions Arena, Paul Millsap also made a major contribution.
Millsap finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in only 29 minutes. He was on the floor when Utah took control against the road-weary Bulls.
"He's so good," said Boozer, who finished with 28 points. "We have a diamond in the rough in Paul. ... He does such a great job. We have a great luxury having Paul come off the bench for us."
Millsap played the final 4:22 of the first quarter and did not score.
He was outstanding early in the second quarter, however, when Utah built a 45-28 lead.
"Just trying to be aggressive, trying to push the tempo," Millsap said. "Just doing what I've been trying to do all year."
The Jazz were nursing a 28-22 lead when their defense forced turnovers on Chicago's opening two possessions.
Deron Williams converted the first one and Millsap, running the floor effectively, scored a layup to give Utah a 10-point advantage.
On the Jazz's next possession, the Bulls backed away from Millsap as he stood just behind the free-throw line.
Dared to shoot, Millsap pulled the trigger on an 18-footer. He buried it, continuing Utah's explosion.
"You have to shoot the ball," Millsap said. "I have to make them respect me out there. A lot of people haven't really seen me shoot that shot. [But] I know I'm capable of shooting it and capable of making it."
After the Jazz's fourth straight defensive stop, Eric Maynor missed a runner. But Millsap cleaned up, giving him six points in a span of 76 seconds.
His final basket during a 17-6 run came with 8:56 remaining in the half. He took a pass from Boozer and dropped in a tough-angle layup.
Millsap finished with eight points and six rebounds in 11:47 in the first half, when the Jazz built a 57-40 lead.
Millsap had an immediate impact in the third quarter, too.
He had just entered the game when the Bulls' Derrick Rose went to the basket and attempted a layup.
With authority, Millsap blocked the shot and triggered a fast break, which ended with Wesley Mathews' slam dunk that gave Utah a 73-54 lead.
"He drove baseline," Millsap said. "... I waited for him and was able to time it just right."
Going into the Jazz-Bulls game, Millsap had been on his best roll of the season.
In a six-game stretch, he reached double figures five times.
Millsap averaged 13 points on 33-of-54 shooting. He also averaged 5.5 rebounds despite playing more than 34 minutes just once.