SALT LAKE CITY -- The Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-85 and pushed their overall record to 16-6 Monday night, but did so with almost no offensive production from their second leading scorer through three and a half quarters.
Paul Millsap shot just 3-of-11 for seven points and seven rebounds against the Grizzlies after posting a team-high 21 points in Utah's 93-81 loss to Dallas Friday night. Millsap's 18.4 point average prior to Monday's matchup trailed only Deron Williams' pregame average of 21.6 points per game.
You got nights like that where the ball don't go in...You gotta live with it.
Millsap's performance against Dallas was hardly the most significant the Jazz have seen all season as the starting forward notched a career-high 46 points in Utah's 116-114 overtime win in Miami Nov. 9 - the most any Jazzman has posted since Karl Malone's 56-point performance against the Golden State Warriors in April 1998.
With Millsap carrying more fouls than points into the fourth quarter, the Jazz were lucky to have received double digit help from Deron Williams, C.J. Miles and Al Jefferson who posted 20, 17 and 10 points, respectively, throughout three quarters. Millsap played 24 minutes before the fourth, but tallied just two points and three rebounds as the Jazz struggled to compete in the paint.
Andrei Kirilenko earned just four points in the first half and tallied all of them from the charity stripe, shooting 0-of-7 from the field. Kirilenko scored his only field goal off a dunk from a Williams feed 23 seconds into the third and was awarded with two more attempts from the line in the same quarter, but Millsap's attempts to snag a trip to the line after the first quarter went unsuccessful until the fourth.
Millsap spent another 8:25 on the hardwood in the fourth quarter, but created little trouble for the Grizzlies' defense until nearly six minutes had run off the clock. Millsap attempted just two shots in the fourth but converted on both, ending the night with seven points, seven rebounds and three fouls. Millsap's 27 percent shooting was paired with 2-of-4 shooting from the free throw line.
I don't expect him to have too many bad games like that, but it's good to know that when he does, we can find a way to win.
"(Millsap is) a big part of what we do, so when he's not playing well, other guys have to step up. You could that see we were sluggish, we weren't really getting the point production that we're used to getting, but we found other guys to fill the void," Raja Bell said. "I don't expect him to have too many bad games like that, but it's good to know that when he does, we can find a way to win."
Together, the Jazz put forth a less than dominating effort against Memphis, shooting 42 percent to the Grizzlies' 41.8 percent. Deron Williams looked as though he might have been the only one who had successfully shaken off the loss to Dallas prior to tipoff as he opened Utah's first game since with nine first quarter points.
Williams sustained his leading performance throughout the duration of the game, racking up 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting to go along with eight assists and four rebounds. Williams dished out six assists in the second half.
C.J. Miles also put together a solid night and chipped in 20 points off the bench to fill the hole Millsap's cold shooting left in Utah's offense.