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"This is what the greatest thing about sports is. You play to win the game. Hello. You play to win the game."
Herm Edwards, Jets Head Coach 2004
Someone forgot to give the memo to the Jazz that the Heat are the best team in the league. I don't know who was in charge of creating the memo, ESPN or the league offices, but it definitely didn't reach Paul Millsap. He didn't realize that he was in the presence of greatness.
When 10 pairs of basketball sneakers hit the floor Tuesday night, who would have thought that the best pair didn't belong to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams or Chris Bosh?
Who would have thought that an undersized power forward would be raining 3's like Larry Legend and carry his team to the best regular season win in over a decade.
" He went off tonight. He did everything. His back is going to be sore tomorrow from carrying all of us." said Jazz captain Deron Williams.
At some point in Paul Millsap's career, we're going to stop underestimating him. At some point we're going to stop seeing him as an overachiever. We're going to stop referring to his tireless work ethic and nose for the ball. We'll cease our talk about his grit and heart.
Instead we're going to talk about Paul Millsap as one of the league's premier power forwards. That matching the Blazers "toxic" offer two years ago is looking like the best bargain in the NBA.
You asked the question as soon as Paul Millsap hit 40 points... What is Carlos Boozer's career high? It was 41.
For half the price, a quarter the attitude and twice the heart, Paul Millsap scored 46 points in spectacular and dominant fashion. This Jazz victory will go down as one of the most memorable wins in Jazz history.
This modern day Triumvirate jumped on the Jazz early, building a 21 point lead early in the 3rd quarter. But Millsap almost erased that lead with his 18 third quarter points, with an array of jumpers, layups, dunks and free throws.
Nevertheless, the Jazz trailed by 8 with 37 seconds left to play.
Millsap hits a 3.
Deron hits a 3.
With the Jazz trailing 102-104, C.J. "Catch and Jack" Miles heaves up a horribly aimed 3 point shot.
Unsurprisingly, Millsap corrals the rebound, without touching the floor, puts the ball up and in as time expires to force overtime.
What I found most interesting was Millsap's reaction after the ball went through the hoop.
A fist pump and a high-five.
"The game wasn't over," said Millsap, "We went into overtime, we had to calm our nerves a little bit and come out with this win."
We hear all the time that players don't care about personal achievements and accolades... maybe this time, it's true.
For Paul Millsap, he "plays to win the game."