Andre Miller's not the same player now that he was when he played for the University of Utah.
He's a little slower. He's a little more pudgy. His hair now has specs of grey in it to compete with the black. He's now a senior member of the NBA at the point where he's supposed to be on his last legs.
Only he's not. As the Utah Jazz saw on Monday night, the Denver Nugget point guard still has lots left to give. In what was a disheartening 100-81 defeat for the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena, Miller was at the forefront of the first road win of the season for the Nuggets.
He scored 15 points total. Seven of those came in a deciding fourth-quarter run. Whenever Denver needed a basket, Miller usually came up with one.
"It's always good to come back here, this is my second home," Miller said. "To come back here and play well means a lot. I just knew that we needed a spark and I wanted to be aggressive and try to do anything I could to help get my team a win."
Miller's ability to post up smaller guards proved lethal for the Nuggets. Time and again he put John Lucas III on his back in the paint, turned and shot over him. When he got a bigger man on him, he used his quickness to get to the basket and either score or create a shot for someone else.
At 37 years old, Miller's game has never been predicated on his athleticism. That and his size, 6-foot-4, are two big reasons he's been able to excel, even at an advanced age.
Denver coach Brian Shaw says Miller's experience and ability to fit in with his system have caused him to play Miller even more than he's imagined. Right now, he's the first guard off the bench and teams with Nate Robinson to provide the Nuggets with a second unit that's difficult to guard for opposing teams.
"I rely on him a little bit more than I thought I would," Shaw said. "He's a calming influence out there for us. We were able to run some stuff through him offensively in that fourth quarter. He played pretty well."
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