Millsap, Jazz take series lead over Denver

The Sports Network
4/24/2010 2:17:00 AM
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Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Paul Millsap scored 16 of his 22 points in the second quarter and finished with 19 rebounds, pacing Utah to a 105-93 win over Denver in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Deron Williams added 24 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, who hold a 2-1 lead in the series. Carlos Boozer tallied 18 points and eight rebounds, while Wesley Matthews scored 14 in the win.

Millsap played 33 minutes in a reserve role and went 11-of-14 from the field.

"He was alive and he was very active defensively," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He went after the basketball. We needed that."

Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups each had 25 points for Denver, which lost by three points in Game 2. Kenyon Martin started despite not practicing Thursday due to a left knee injury that caused him to miss 18 games late in the season. He had 13 rebounds in Friday's game.

"We just gave them too many layups," Billups said. "The one thing about the Jazz is they thrive off of tricking you and getting layups and at home getting transition baskets. I thought we did pretty good with transition, but gave them too many layups."

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday night in Salt Lake City.

J.R. Smith's three-pointer widened Denver's lead to 27-16 with 2:24 left in the opening quarter, but Matthews hit a huge three from the left corner at the end of the period, getting Utah within 27-21.

The Jazz went 14-of-20 from the field in the second to take the lead, although it was tightly contested throughout the period. Boozer's layup in the final minute provided the Jazz a 52-48 edge at the half.

"We have to do a better job passing the ball," Denver acting coach Adrian Dantley said. "We only had 12 assists for the whole game. We have to do a better job playing post defenders. In the second quarter they had like 18 paint points."

Williams had 10 points in the third quarter, when Utah really turned up the fast-break offense and was able to pull away. Denver went 5-of-15 shooting in the quarter.

"We knew they were going to come out, trap me and try to get the ball out of my hands," Williams said. "It took just a little while to figure that out. Once we settled down, I think we picked it apart."

Arron Afflalo started the third with a layup for Denver, but the Jazz scored the next eight, capped by a Williams three-point play for a 60-50 cushion. Williams hit a jumper for a 70-56 lead, culminating an 8-0 push, and the margin widened to 82-63 on Millsap's bucket in the closing minute of the third.

Ahead 84-68 going to the fourth, the Jazz never let the Nuggets back into the game, and moved ahead by as many as 23 midway through the last quarter.

Game Notes

C.J. Miles had 10 points for Utah, which held a big 27-12 assists advantage...Denver had 14 turnovers, leading to 17 Jazz points...The Jazz continue to play shorthanded with Andrei Kirilenko (calf) and Mehmet Okur (Achilles) sidelined.


Paul Millsap (Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)


(Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)
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