Millsap's explosion helps Jazz end road woesDec 22, 2007 - 4:23 AM By Jim Rickenbacker PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz did not need to go to the "Magic Kingdom" to have some fun, they just had to play the Orlando Magic at home.
Paul Millsap scored a career-high 28 points off the bench - including 13 in a key third-quarter run - to help the Jazz post a 113-94 victory over the Magic on Friday.
Carlos Boozer added 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Utah, which snapped a seven-game road losing streak.
"It is a great feeling," Millsap said of snapping the skid. "It is a great thing for our team to come out with this win and break this streak on the road. It is a confidence booster for us, and we have one more before this road trip is over."
The Jazz did so thanks in large part to Millsap, who entered the game averaging just 7.9 points.
"I was trying to be more aggressive and assertive on the court," Millsap said. "Guys were just finding me through the seams. Sometimes you just have to exploit that and continue to do that."
Millsap shot 11-of-15 from the floor and scored 13 straight points during a 15-7 third-quarter run, which helped the Jazz blow open a one-point game.
"Paul was incredible," Boozer said. "It is great to have him playing like that."
It was a back-and-forth contest with Utah holding a 64-63 lead before the decisive spurt that gave it a 79-70 edge after three periods.
The Jazz, who have not lost eight straight road games since 2005, took advantage of a Magic team that is just 5-5 at home, compared to a league-best 13-4 on the road entering Friday's play.
"It is great to get one (win) period," Boozer said of his team's woes.
Meanwhile, Hedo Turkoglu scored 27 points and Dwight Howard added 20 for Orlando, which has lost four straight here.
Following seven lead changes midway through the third quarter, Millsap got hot and carried the Jazz.
With Utah clinging to slim lead, Millsap scored 13 of his team's next 15 points. His 17-foot jumper with 2:41 left in the quarter lifted Utah to a 75-65 lead and his layup with 1:15 left made it 77-67.
The Magic scored just seven points in the closing 5:19 of the third period and went nearly four minutes between field goals.
"We got some stops," Boozer said. "The key was our defense. We trusted one another and rotated very well. The key was our defense. I am going to keep harping on that and everybody in here will."
Boozer, Utah's leading scorer, pushed the lead to 95-78 midway through the fourth period, as the Magic's defense simply had no answers.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy called out his team after the loss.
"That team plays way too hard for us, and they're way too tough for us, bottom line," Van Gundy said.
Utah, which shot 53 percent (42-of-79) from the floor, got key contributions from its bench. The Jazz reserves outscored the Orlando's bench, 50-20.
Orlando shot 8-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half and led 50-49 after 24 minutes. However, it went cold, hitting just 1-of-11 in the second half.
"We were ahead by one at the half, simply because we shot the ball well," Van Gundy said. "And when the threes stop falling, we had no chance because we can't compete with them. We just can't compete.
"There's not one guy there, not one guy could compete with the guy he was playing against, not one guy. We had a team-wide effort of guys getting their butts kicked. And we have a lot of guys right now that are OK with that as long as they get their numbers. It's probably going to continue until we get some guys who want to win."
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