And, boy, did the big man deliver.
Millsap recorded a first triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the Hawks' critical 118-113 win over the Raptors. It was the first triple-double of his eight-year career, according to ESPN Stats.
Millsap's shooting numbers were not great—6-of-16 from the field—but he made up for it with his sensational all-around play.
While he had never had much trouble accumulating points and rebounds, this was the first time in his career Millsap reached double-digit assists. His previous career high was nine assists on March 30, 2013, when he was with the Utah Jazz.
Millsap wasn't the only Hawk to post career numbers on the evening. Point guard Jeff Teague equaled his career high with 34 points in the win.
This should have been an easier 2013-14 campaign for Millsap, who signed with the Hawks to pair with All-Star center Al Horford. But Horford was lost early in the season, and Millsap was forced to carry the Atlanta frontcourt. He responded by making his first All-Star team in February.
The burly power forward ranked No. 1 in B/R's Kendall Baker's "Most Underrated Players" list at midseason, in part because of what he brings to the Atlanta locker room. "More important than his statistics, however, is the leadership role that Millsap has taken on in Horford's absence," Baker said.
The win kept the Hawks ahead of the hard-charging New York Knicks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
After the game, Millsap did not sound content to rest on his laurels, per NBA.com's Paul Newberry. "We're not going to make any excuses," Millsap said. "We've just got to push forward and try to win some games."
The Hawks now have two days off before their next game, Friday night, against the New Orleans Pelicans. They can wrap up a playoff berth if they continue their strong play of late, and that's just what Paul Millsap is playing for.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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