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A problem for the Jazz, and for Millsap, is the traffic in the low post. Al Jefferson is there, Millsap is there, Favors is there, Enes Kanter is there. Favors is the best defender of the bunch. And defense is what the Jazz need to transform from a peripheral playoff team to a certain one. Millsap is undersized, and everybody knows that. He racks up steals, but he also fouls, typically finishing among NBA leaders in most fouls committed. If he defends power forwards, he’s overwhelmed. Against small forwards, he’s not quick enough.
And at the offensive end, it becomes a matter of spacing, which is the on-ramp to efficient offense. Wednesday, Millsap got out in transition and benefited from easy baskets, which boosted him toward his production.
All over the map
Paul Millsap’s past 10 games, during which he’s shot 40%:
Opponent Pts Reb
Washington 6 10
Houston 10 8
Sacramento 10 1
Sacramento 13 8
Denver 5 5
New Orleans 16 8
Oklahoma City 13 6
Houston 12 11
Clippers 13 8
Orlando 22 4
"The basketball was moving, swinging around," he said. "We got some good looks. I didn’t take too many jump shots."
A bigger reason Millsap flourished was because Favors didn’t play. And when Favors plays, the Jazz are better. That’s a conundrum that has put the team in a blender at times and adversely affected You-Know-Who.
Still, Millsap said: "My main thing is the team, that we’re winning. Be patient, and things eventually will turn around for you."
That’s what you would expect Paul Millsap to say, and maybe even believe. He’s a pro’s pro. A man’s man. But this situation has tested him.
"People look at me," he said. "I’ve got to continue to be a leader, a leader by example. I still love playing this game. When I get out there, I try laying everything on the line. I’m not thinking about anything but winning the basketball game. For me, competing is an amazing feeling. As long as I’m doing that, I’m fine."
Gordon Monson hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
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