Last night, Paul Millsap showed off his previously-unknown perimeter shooting stroke, while scoring 11 points in 28 seconds to power his Utah Jazz to an overtime victory over the Miami Big Three. Millsap was 3-3 from behind the arc during this explosion, after going 2-20 during the rest of his NBA career. So yeah: Paul Millsap, 3-point bomber.
Certainly not the Miami Heat, who surrendered what was, at one point, a 22-point lead to the Jazz and lost in overtime. Oh, the Jazz got the winning-time job done with their franchise point guard on bench due to fouling out. Not only did Millsap’s newfound outside shooting touch get the Jazz back in the game, his last-second tip-in sent the game to overtime. Needless to say, his 46-point (the most by a Jazz player since Karl Malone delivered the mail) 9-rebound game was indeed beast-like.
There are highlights of Millsap’s awesome finish, which is just one of the reason I love the Internet:
The Miami Heat roster got a lot stronger with the announcement of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh agreeing to sign with the South Beach squad, however, a quick look at the Heat roster reveals, with the inclusion of Wade and Bosh, only four players are apart of the team — Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers are the other two under contract. That leaves about 10 or so roster spots needing to be filled, and with that in mind, what’s next for the Heat? Who do they sign to compliment the Big Two?
Operating from the idea the Heat won’t be signing LeBron James, who else is out there capable of helping the Wade-Bosh two-headed monster? A quick glance indicates the Heat clearly need a shooter and another, dirty-work-style post player. A dependable point guard would be nice addition as well.
In South Florida, A Bosh-Wade pairing leaves the Heat in excess of an additional $10 million in salary-cap space… That means if Miami Thrice is out with James, it would push the Heat toward several lesser-tier possibilities… That extra cap flexibility would mean the Heat would not have to renounce its rights to all of its 2010 free agents, possibly putting Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright, Jermaine O’Neal and Quentin Richardson back into play for roster spots or sign-and-trade transactions.
While Haslem looks like a great fit for the Wade-Bosh monster, I’m not sure Jermaine O’Neal fits. Here are some that would, however:
Ray Allen (Tony Allen, too)
If the Heat retain Haslem and sign three or four players from the above list, Miami could very easily be one of the serious contenders for the NBA crown, and not just in the Eastern Conference either — regardless of where LeBron James signs. Of course, if the Heat do indeed sign James, then it probably won’t matter who they fill out the roster with.
Um, I have to feel badly for Chris Bosh. Not only did the Boston Celtics beat his Toronto Raptors down, but Bosh got dunked on and got a knee to the groin area as a reward for trying to block Paul Pierce’s attempt. Did Pierce purposely try to “rack” Bosh or was it a case of simply trying to give himself some space to finish the dunk, something along the same lines as extending an off-hand to keep the defender away?
There is/was a good discussion over at RealGM.com over this very subject, and while no consensus has been reached, I think this stands out as my favorite comment, courtesy of Mr Excitement [sic'd]:
if bosh was the one who went on to knee paul pierce, celtics would have pulled the wheelchair.
Whatever the case, I do find Pierce’s post-dunk “thug mug” humorous.
If the US/Greece game was supposed to be the Redeemers first test, it’s safe to say they passed with flying colors, winning 92-69. Once again, it was a large dosage of defensive pressure, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and a side of Chris Bosh to boot that put the Greeks away in a game that could’ve been a lot uglier if Coach K kept his Big 3 in the game (in this case, LeBron, Kobe and Wade).
Bryant didn’t even play in the fourth quarter and still finished with 18 points.
As for LeBron, apparently, he’s decided to become the team’s official shot blocker, finishing with three more spectacular denials and increasing his overall total to seven in three games. It would appear King James is channeling the spirits of Manute Bol and Mark Eaton. Not to mention he’s absolutely unstoppable in the open court — a given, I know; but his ability stands out even more against international competition.
For the nitpickers out there, I suppose Team USA’s free throw shooting woes (13-23 against Greece) could be an area of concern and perhaps something like this could come back to bite the Redeemers when they play Spain on Saturday. However, it’s becoming more and more apparent there aren’t many players in the world that can withstand the all-out pressure provided by LeBron, Kobe and the rest of the gang.
And when you can bring a player like Chris Bosh off the bench and he delivers 18 points and two blocked shots, it’s safe to say your team is awfully deep. Does Spain have a Chris Bosh in their reserves? How about a Chris Paul or a Deron Williams? A Dwyane Wade perhaps?
Sarcasm aside, you can see Team USA’s confidence and comfort level rise almost by the quarter. That probably doesn’t bode well for the rest of the countries in the tournament.