SALT LAKE CITY — It's about the only constant that's remained for the Utah Jazz in a season when their legendary coach resigned and All-Star point guard was traded.
When C.J. Miles has a big night, it usually yields excellent results for the Jazz. And Miles, who was in Utah's starting lineup for the second straight game, had a career-night on Wednesday, pouring in a career-high 40 points and six 3-pointers to lead the Jazz to a 119-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"I thought he was awesome," said Jazz guard Raja Bell. "He hit some huge shots. That's not surprising (because) that's what he does. He's a really, really talented scorer. It was an awesome game. Pretty cool."
The Jazz improved to 13-2 in games this season when Miles scores 20 or more points. He almost had that total in the first quarter when he made his first seven shots, including four 3-pointers. The first shot he missed was one he had to rush as time was ticking down in the first quarter.
"I felt good in pregame when I got here," Miles said. "I got some things to the basket early, and got some good looks from the outside and got running from there."
Miles' previous scoring high was 29 points in a game against the Wizards back in March of 2008. He topped that with a jumper midway through the third quarter against the Timberwolves.
Miles earned a standing ovation from the EnergySolutions Arena crowd when he exited the game in the final minutes. Bell deserves an assist for the cheers, as he was going to first be subbed out, but made sure it was Miles that went to the bench so that his teammate could soak up some applause.
"I would have wanted it (the standing ovation) if I had gone off like that," Bell said. "I thought he deserved it."
Bell's gesture didn't go unnoticed.
"Raj is a great guy," Miles said. "He did that for me. I wasn't looking (to come out) but he said go ahead. He's a classy guy."
Miles' huge scoring night was the result of being aggressive, and not settling for jumpers and 3-pointers. He went to the basket hard in the first quarter, letting the Timberwolves know that they couldn't just guard him one way.6 comments on this story
"He did a tremendous job executing the offense," coach Tyrone Corbin said of Miles. "He didn't rush any shots. He really waited for them to come within the system, and he looked for good shots. He put the ball on the floor some and got to the basket early."
Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan used to emphasize to Miles to get to the basket and not just settle for long-range shots. Miles has realized the benefits of doing that.
"If I can get layups or get to the line, I mean, it makes that basket look that much bigger," Miles said. "People always talked about me and coach Sloan tried to hit me across the head with it my first four or five years. I just have to believe in the things I can do and not just put myself in bad situations where I cut my game basically in half by just sitting out there shooting long jump shots."