Los Angeles Paul Millsap rescued the Utah Jazz. Millsap exploded for a career-high 46 points, Francisco Elson sank the game-winning free throws with four tenths of a second left in overtime, and the Jazz rallied from 22 down on Tuesday night for a dramatic 116-114 road victory over the Miami Heat.
“It’s speechless, to be down like that to a team like this and to come out with a win” said Millsap, who hit 19-of 28 field goals, all three of his triples and grabbed nine boards in the stunner. “It says a lot about our team. We clawed our way out of it.” Deron Williams collected 21 points and 14 assists before fouling out late in regulation. Russian Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 for the Jazz (4-3), who overcame an 18-point deficit on Saturday to beat the LA Clippers in double overtime.
Dwyane Wade scored 39, including all 10 of Miami’s points in the extra session. LeBron James recorded his 29th career triple double with 20 points, 14 assists and 11 assists, while Chris Bosh contributed 17 points for the Heat (5-3), which was outscored 84-63 in the second half.
“We came out in the second half and it got away from us,” James said. “In the third quarter, we came out a little too lax and they started making the shots they were missing. Once a team like Utah gets going they’re tough. They execute really well and they find each other. Millsap carried them and the rest followed.” The Jazz looked to headed for its eighth straight loss at Miami after trailing by 22 and 51-32 at halftime.
“The intensity level wasn’t there; we weren’t playing physical,” Millsap said, “Coach (Jerry Sloan) told us they came out and kind of punched us in the mouths early. He told us to get physical with them.” The Jazz got the message and Millsap caught fire, scoring 18 third-quarter points to put his team back in the game. Trailing by eight in the final minute of regulation, Millsap took over with 11 more points in the final 28 seconds. He hit a trio of threes - his first of the season - and a put-back at the buzzer off a CJ Miles’ miss to force the overtime at 104 apiece. “The man was on fire,” Wade said.
Wade carried Miami in extra session. His three-pointer from the left corner squared the contest at 114 with 17.5 seconds left.
However, the Heat star fouled Elson on a layup attempt. The seldom-used backup centre calmly sank the go-ahead free throw and unintentionally banked in the second for the eventual margin of victory.
The Heat called a timeout to set up a final shot, but long - distance marksman Eddie House missed a desperation game-winning three-pointer from the corner as time expired.
“It’s a painful lesson, hopefully we’ll learn that when you have an opportunity to keep grinding defensively and close a team out you have to take advantage of it because teams are too good,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
“It’s not about the end, it’s not about the threes, it’s about execution at the end. We had every opportunity to take control of that game and just weren’t able to do it.” Elsewhere: LA Lakers 99, Minnesota Timberwolves 94 Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, Spaniard Pau Gasol had 18 with 10 rebounds and the two-time defending NBA Champion Lakers improved to 8-0 for the third time in franchise history.
Kevin Love collected 23 points and 24 rebounds for visiting Minnesota (1-7), losers of six in a row overall, and 12 straight to the Lakers.
New Orleans Hornets 101, LA Clippers 82 Reserves Willie Green scored 19 points, Jarryd Bayless added 15, and the host Hornets improved to a franchise-record 7-0 to open the season, with their 14th consecutive victory over the lowly Clippers (1-7).
Indiana Pacers 144, Denver Nuggets 113 Mike Dunleavy scored 24 of his 31 points in a 54-point third-quarter explosion in which the Pacers (3-3) hit their first 20 shots, and Darren Collison added 29 to crush the visiting Nuggets (4-4).
Cleveland Cavaliers 93, New Jersey Nets 91 JJ Hickson had 18 points while Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker hit key threes in the final 2.5 minutes, carrying the Cavs (4-3) to their third consecutive victory. Travis Outlaw wasted a season-high 27-point performance for the Nets (2-5), losers of five in a row.
Milwaukee Bucks 107, New York Knicks 80 Brandon Jennings scored 19 points, Drew Gooden had 17 and the Bucks (3-5) built a 21-point halftime, en route to bashing the visiting Knicks (3-4).
Portland Trail Blazers 100, Detroit Pistons 78 LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points with 17 rebounds, Frenchman Nicolas Batum scored 17 and the host Trail Blazers (6-3) ended the Pistons’ (2-6) modest two-game run.