January 31, 2010
If you're new to the Dre Miller experience, understand that this isn't some middling journeyman who enjoyed a night for the ages.
Andre Miller(notes) has never been an All-Star, but he's enjoyed a few All-Star-level seasons. He's also been a double-figure scorer his entire career, averaging 14.5 points, while acting as one of the better pure point guards of his generation. In fact, poll any NBA observer over the last two decades, and they'd likely confirm the notion that Andre Miller — above such stalwarts like John Stockton, Jason Kidd(notes) and Steve Nash(notes) — is probably the best lob passer of his era. Nobody throws a rim-high spiral like this guy.
But a scorer? Miller could always post-up, dating back to his college days, and nail the mid-range jumper. But he was never a huge worry for opposing defenses. Especially heading into Saturday night, 24 hours after dropping exactly two points against the Houston Rockets.
Or seven points against the Utah Jazz two nights before that.
Or six points against the New Orleans Hornets two nights before the Jazz game.
So for Miller to give the Dallas Mavericks — the 11th-most efficient defensive team in the NBA heading into Saturday — 52 points? To score 25 in the fourth quarter and overtime? To do it Wilt-style; that is to say, only taking (and making) one 3-pointer all night?
It was quite the show. Jason Kidd, Jose Juan Barea(notes) and Jason Terry(notes) just could not cut off Miller from penetrating into the lane for a series of stretched-out lay-ups. Absolutely could not stop the guy. Shawn Marion(notes), a fantastic defender even in his advancing years, defended Miller ably but still failed to keep him from tossing in shots. Miller just drove, drove and drove toward those 52.
He shot 22 for 31, and the best indication I can pass along regarding Miller's typical floor-bound stylings is that, of the nine misses, three of those shots were blocked. And, for someone who essentially had the ball in his hands in every Portland possession, Miller's two turnovers in 42 minutes of play might be more impressive than the 52 he gave Kidd, et al.
"Might be." Those 52 points, as a guard who has bounced around, working for a new team that has involved him in trade discussions for the last month and a half, for a player who will turn 34 in two months, against a team that prides itself on its sound defense? This was a bit of a jaw-dropper.