Jazz make paella out of Real Madrid behind an efficient Millsap.
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Madrid, Spain » No matter that Buckingham Palace and the Prado will have to wait for another time. Paul Millsap might have largely confined himself to the Jazz's hotel this week, but he made the most of the team's trip to Europe - on the court.
Millsap went 8-for-8 and scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half as the Jazz blew away Real Madrid in the second quarter on the way to a 109-87 preseason victory Thursday night before 13,703 at the Palacio de Deportes.
"I was kind of low-key," Millsap said. "I was about business on this trip. Hopefully, next time I can get time to get out and do some things."
If nothing else, Millsap continued to make a name for himself as part of the NBA's Europe Live Tour, giving another impressive performance after his 18-point effort in Tuesday's loss to the Chicago Bulls in London.
"He looks more relaxed than any time I've seen him since he's been with our team," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I think he's been able to take advantage of it. Not only by the fact that he's scored points, but his ability to do the little things that help you win."
¿Cómo se dice "Starting power forward controversy" en Español?
Not according to Sloan, who suggested after the game that he's inclined to continue bringing Millsap off the bench behind Carlos Boozer.
"The way he's playing," Sloan said, "his value would probably be awfully strong for our team to have somebody who can come in the ball game, who gives you instant energy and can score the basketball."
Sloan added that he hasn't made a "definite decision" on the matter. Millsap is averaging 15 points and shooting 64.2 percent through three preseason games. The Jazz outscored Real Madrid 42-22 with Millsap in the game in the first half.
"I've got to see how some of these other guys come along," Sloan said. "I thought they played a little bit harder tonight on the defensive end, but we can't survive with guys just trying to get by on defense and using their offense to try to stay out there."
If there is a controversy, the Jazz will take it in stride. As Millsap talked to reporters after the game, Deron Williams joined the circle and jokingly asked, "Who do you think should start?"
"No, he didn't do that," Millsap said. "No comment. No hablo, señor." His official word on the subject? "Any way I can try to help our team, I'm going to try to do that," Millsap said.
Asked about Millsap making a case to play, Williams decided to have a little fun. "I think we should look to trade him right now while's he hot, while he's a hot commodity," he joked.
There's no telling how that will be translated given the number of Spanish reporters present.
Once he turned serious, Williams said of Millsap: "He's going to have to get time. We paid him the big money to play and he deserves to play." Williams added that playing Millsap as a small forward for stretches could work.
For two teams that exchanged gifts before the opening tip and tossed mini-basketballs into the crowd together after the final horn, the Jazz were rude guests in the Spanish capital, at least to the home team.
They won the second quarter 33-16 and took a 56-37 lead into halftime after Eric Maynor's three-pointer with 6.5 seconds left. Millsap scored 14 of the Jazz's first 18 points of the quarter during a superlative run.
Millsap had two three-point plays inside, dunked off a screen-and-roll and ran the floor for a layup and dunk. He also had three rebounds, a block and two steals in the half, including one in which he came from behind to nab Sergio Llull's pass to Cheikh Samb.
"That's what I'm trying to push myself to do better this whole year," Millsap said. "Get out and run the floor well, be more assertive on the offensive end and continue to play my role on the defensive end."
Millsap made his first nine shots in all before missing a jumper over Novica Velickovic to end up 9-for-10.
Williams finished with 16 points while Boozer had 14, including a sequence in the third quarter in which he dunked off a Ronnie Brewer pass as part of a three-point play, then broke up a pick-and-roll with a steal at the other end.
Demolishing Real Madrid 64-26 in the paint, the Jazz totaled 109 points while hitting just three three-pointers and committing 24 turnovers. They also avoided the indignity of losing to a Euroleague team, something NBA teams have done five times in recent preseasons.
"We just have more talent," Williams said. "They're definitely a great team, a well-coached team. Their stuff is hard to defend. We're just a lot more athletic and our system's tough."
Jazz 109, Real Madrid 87
» In short » The Jazz wrap up their European trip with a cruise-control victory over Real Madrid behind Paul Millsap's 20 points.
Key moment » Millsap scores 14 of the Jazz's first 18 points in the second quarter as they build a 19-point lead by halftime.
Key stat » The Jazz shot 58.6 percent and outscore Real Madrid 64-26 in the paint for the night.