SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Utah’s Paul Millsap isn’t playing like a rookie.
The second-round draft pick looked more like a veteran Saturday night, helping the Jazz match the best start in team history by scoring six of his 18 points in overtime of a 120-117 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Millsap also had 10 rebounds for his first career double-double as the Jazz rallied from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
“I have a lot of confidence right now. I give thanks to my coaches and teammates for that,” Millsap said. “Coming in as a rookie is hard, but I try to come in and do what I can.”
The Jazz forced overtime on Mehmet Okur’s three free throws that tied it at 106, then Millsap took over in the OT. Millsap blocked Leandro Barbosa—swiping the ball out of the air instead of knocking it out of bounds—and also drove for a reverse layup before fouling out.
“It’s amazing. You don’t hear anything out of him, except what he does on the court,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “He’s not a guy that runs out there and says ‘I don’t know what we’re doing or what’s going on.’ You just tell him and he does it.”
That’s about the only sure way to please Sloan. Starting the season 9-1 for the first time in eight years doesn’t hurt, either. Utah won at Seattle 118-109 on Friday, then found the energy to rally at the end Saturday in front of the first sellout at the Delta Center this season.
“We’re happy to be atop of the NBA in the standings now and hope to keep that up,” Williams said. “We picked it up got some stops, got the crowd into it and the crowd was unbelievable tonight and helped us get this win.”
The Suns fell to 3-6 and are 0-2 against Utah already this season
Phoenix had two chances to force a second overtime. Barbosa got the rebound after Marcus Banks missed on a 3-pointer to tie it. Barbosa got off a 25-footer just before the buzzer, but he also missed and the game was over.
“We had this game won. We played good for three quarters of the game and to give it to (Utah) at the end is very frustrating,” Marion said. “It’s the same old, same old for us… We’ve got to start learning from our mistakes.”
Okur finished with 18 points, two blocked shots and five rebounds.
The Jazz led 54-49, but the Suns outscored the Jazz 35-19 in the third quarter behind the shooting of Marion. Marion was perfect from the free throw line, hitting all 11 shots.
Okur played in his 189th consecutive game. … The Jazz finished their third of 18 back-to-back games this season. … Millsap’s previous career highs were 15 points and nine rebounds. … Phoenix was 39-for-80 from the field, but the Suns were outrebounded 45-36.