When Paul Millsap Plays Defense, Utah Jazz Are Much Better Team Anywhere

By John Raffel
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz continues to be like any run-of-the-mill NBA team that’s just over the .500 mark: much better at home than on the road. They face a Houston Rockets team tonight that’s very similar in that respect.

The Jazz, at 24-20 are excellent at home with a 15-4 record. But on the road, it’s 9-16. The Rockets are similar with a 15-8 home mark and 9-14 clip on the road.

That’s why the Jazz are no better than third in the Northwest Division and aren’t about to do any better than third unless they show a lot more grit on the road. That starts with Paul Millsap who needs to be far more consistent. He needs to mirror the Paul Millsap who played against the Indiana Pacers.

Millsap for the season is averaging 15 points, 7.7 boards and 2.6 assists per game. Against the Pacers in an impressive 114-110 victory on Sunday, Millsap was very effective in 38 minutes of action, shooting 8-of-13 from the floor and hitting all five free throw attempts while scoring 21 points.

His five steals were golden, as they are going to be in any game. The Jazz had 17 team steals which is going to win a lot of games, especially when the Pacers were guilty of 21 turnovers, very uncharacteristic for them.

Millsap’s steals sealed the deal for the Jazz. But this was a home game. The Jazz will probably beat the Rockets since they play well at home.  In fact, they should be 3-0 this week with home games Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

It’s unlikely to be a 4-0 week, however, since the Jazz play at the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, the night after playing the Blazers at home. It’s rare in the NBA for a team to win back-to-back on a home-and-night series.

That’s where Millsap can come in, and find his form every night to keep the Jazz on a winning note, especially on the road.

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