The Denver Nuggets were dead in the water last night. Paul Millsap had played reasonably well in the first half, but when he came ff the bench in the third quarter, the Nuggets were down by 20 with about six minutes left in the quarter.

When Millsap exited with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets were down just five.

Millsap helped lead a bench unit that brought the Nuggets back within striking distance, hitting important shots and keeping the momentum going while he was out there. With 22 points on 8-of-13 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range, Millsap’s efficiency while playing center was reminiscent of Nikola Jokic on his best days. Every shot he attempted looked like it was going in, and the rhythm with which he took those shots gave Denver the boost they needed to win the game late.

It was Millsap’s 35th birthday yesterday. His daughter took the first shot of the game and made it while dad looked on with a big smile on his face. It’s possible that watching her gave Millsap some extra energy for this game, and he in turn carried the Nuggets on his back when they needed a boost as well.

Life is funny that way. Happy birthday Paul!