Found January 16, 2012 on NBA 24/7 365:
Ac

Not only has Al Harrington come off the bench to provide the Nuggets with an offensive boost this season, but he’s played some surprisingly solid defense as well.  I’ve never thought of Al Harrington as a guy who really gets after it at the defensive end, but I’ve noticed that he’s been aggressive in trying to force turnovers this season (averaging a career-high 1.5 steals thus far), and he’s also been playing good, fundamentally-sound man-to-man defense on some pretty tough post players.  After the Nuggets beat the Bucks I remember pointing out his defense on Andrew Bogut that helped the Nuggets win by going small, and last night he made Paul Millsap take some really tough shots down the stretch.  Unfortunately for him, Millsap made those tough shots.

Paul Millsap scored 16 of his 26 in the fourth quarter as the Jazz beat the Nuggets 106-96, driving them ahead of both the Nuggets and the Lakers in the Western Conference standings.  With the game far from over, Millsap poured in 14 consecutive points between the ten and five minute marks, taking it from a two-point nailbiter to a ten-point cruisecontroller.  In the video below you can watch him drop a tough hook and a contested jumper in the grill of the aforementioned Al Harrington, who, like I said, did everything he could.  The fourth quarter starts at 1:45…

As you can see, he stuck some pretty tough looks from about 15 feet.  I imagine that this will strike some people as a surprise because Millsap came into the league as a scrapper.  However, as he’s proven to be a steal of a second round pick since day one, he’s turned himself into so much more than a hard-working rebounder.  This guy is proving to be a player who can flat out get buckets, with a tendency to do so in key situations.  Last night’s 16-point explosion against Denver was nothing new.  Just days ago he came up huge in that tough overtime loss to the Lakers, and he showed the Miami Heat what he’s all about last season.  He’s got his season average up to 15 PPG with 29, 18, and 26 over the last three.

Millsap is one of the league’s tougher players to rank.  That’s partly because power forward is such a deep position, but also because of these offensive outbursts that Millsap has.  Based on that fourth quarter last night you’d think he was a number-one scoring option… but I wouldn’t say he is.  That being said, there’s got to be some value in his ability to adapt to different situations.  Millsap has performed off the bench, in the starting lineup, and next to different players.  I think it’s safe to say the Jazz are happy they chose him over Carlos Boozer, and at age 26 he’s probably still got his best years in front of him.  He shares his touches with a great teammate, Al Jefferson, another excellent big man who possesses some of the league’s finest post moves, but don’t get it twisted; Paul Millsap is in the second tier of PFs.  You’ve got the proven number-one option type guys like Dirk Nowitzki (who is really on a level of his own as he’s the only elite player of the bunch), Chris Bosh (not anymore, but think back to Toronto), and Amare (again, think back to Phoenix) along with the young beasts, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin, but after that it’s got to be Paul Millsap… and the thing about him, as I stated earlier, is that he’s a guy who can adapt to any situation.  His ability to perform next to Al Jefferson is a big reason why the Jazz are one of the league’s most surprising teams right now.  Throw in his clutch tendencies and you’ve got a 15-point scorer who’s impact feels more like that of a 20-point scorer.  And yes, I left Pau Gasol out on purpose.  He’s been playing like a chump since last season. 

My point?  don’t sleep on Paul Millsap, the 47th overall pick in ’06 draft who was passed on by every single team in the league.  The power forward position is very strong, and this man is one of the better ones.  So, if you’ve been napping, wake up!  …or Paul Millsap will wake you up.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Millsap, Miles propel Jazz to blowout win

Paul Millsap scored 20 points and reserve C.J. Miles added a season-high 19 as the Jazz defeated the Clippers 108-79 Tuesday night, Utah's 16th straight home win against Los Angeles. The Clippers, who were without star guard Chris Paul for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury, have not won in Salt Lake City since 2003. Millsap picked up where he left off in...

Paul Millsap's double-double leads Jazz past Nuggets

DENVER - The methodical Utah Jazz had no trouble slowing down the fast-paced Nuggets. Paul Millsap had...

Sluggish Clippers lose again in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Paul Millsap scored 20 points and reserve C.J. Miles added a season-high 19 as the Jazz defeated the Clippers 108-79 Tuesday night, Utah's 16th straight home win against Los Angeles. The Clippers, who were without star guard Chris Paul for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury, have not won in Salt Lake City since 2003. Millsap picked...

Paul Millsap lifts Jazz past Nuggets

Paul Millsap had 26 points and 12 rebounds, Al Jefferson added 18 points and 12 rebounds Sunday night and the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets, 106-96.

Clippers woes continue in Utah

Paul Millsap scored 20 points and reserve C.J. Miles added a season-high 19 as the Jazz defeated the Clippers 108-79 Tuesday night, Utah's 16th straight home win against Los Angeles.

Millsap, Miles fuel Jazz rout of Clippers 108-79

Paul Millsap scored 20 points and reserve C.J. Miles added a season-high 19 as the Jazz defeated the Clippers 108-79 Tuesday night, Utah's 16th straight home win against Los Angeles.

Sluggish Clippers lose 16th straight in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers call their high-flying style Lob City. The Utah Jazz did a pretty good impersonation in Tuesday night's 108-79 blowout win. "Not to toot our own horn, but I think we took that title," said Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who scored a team-high 20 points. The Jazz held a 56-36 advantage on points in the paint, 16 off dunks...

NBA roundup: Paul Millsap leads Jazz past Nuggets, 106-96

Paul Millsap had 26 points and 12 rebounds, Al Jefferson added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets, 106-96, on Sunday night. Gordon Hayward scored 19 points, and Devin Harris and Alec Burks added 10 each for the Jazz, which has won seven of eight. Danilo Gallinari scored 18 points, Nene 17 and former Piston Arron Afflalo 16 for the Nuggets.

Live analysis: Utah Jazz lead L.A. Clippers 29-17 after first quarter

Live analysis: Utah Jazz lead L.A. Clippers 29-17 after first quarter By Steve Luhm The Salt Lake Tribune Published Jan 17, 2012 07:22PM MDT The First: Jazz 29, Clippers 17 Paul Millsap scores eight points in four minutes. The Jazz build 13-2 lead. After the Clippers finally get started and make it 15-10, C.J. Miles scores eight points in the final 3:45. Follow the in-game...

Utah Jazz silence D-Will, Nets for 107-94 win

Utah Jazz silence D-Will, Nets for 107-94 win By Brian T. Smith The Salt Lake Tribune Published Jan 14, 2012 11:26PM MDT Deron Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson were supposed to carry the Jazz into the playoffs last season. They shared the weight well for a while. But Utah never felt right, Williams was shipped to New Jersey, and the Jazz were never the same. Utah is...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.