Utah Jazz: C.J. Miles filled in nicely for Josh Howard

Published: Monday, Jan. 23 2012 7:43 p.m. MST

C.J. Miles, of Utah, is greeted as he comes off the court for a time out with the Jazz leading Minnesota in the fourth quarter of NBA basketball in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — For C.J. Miles, it's all about aggressiveness.

For most of his six years as a member of the Utah Jazz, Miles has been known for those long 3-pointers or pull-up jumpers. He's not the kind of player you picture going inside and mixing it up among the big boys.

This season, though, he's adopted an aggressive attitude on both sides of the ball, and it may be the key for him to get more playing minutes on the floor.

After seeing diminished minutes earlier this season, Miles saw increased playing time last week and he took advantage with 54 points in three games.

"I've been aggressive, offensively and defensively, just trying to make plays," he says. "I've been trying to go to the basket offensively and defensively. I've just been trying to stay active, get some steals and get myself out on the break where I can use my athleticism."

The latter was evident the past three games when he made seven steals, which he often converted into dunks or layups at the other end.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin agrees that more aggressive play is helping Miles' game lately.

"He's been aggressive going to the basket, and defensively he's doing a better job of getting up into guys and using his athletic ability to get steals," he said. "His aggressive play is the key for him. When he's active and aggressive on the offensive end and the defensive end, he makes things happen."

After starting 145 games over the past five seasons, Miles has been relegated to the bench this year as Corbin has opted to start Raja Bell at shooting guard and Gordon Hayward at small forward. With the addition of free agent Josh Howard and rookie Alec Burks, Miles' minutes have dropped below 20 per game for the first time in four seasons.

In fact, in back-to-back games earlier this month, Miles played just nine minutes against Memphis and four against Golden State.

However, when Howard got injured against Denver, Miles got more time on the court and averaged 24 minutes in home games against the Clippers, Mavericks and Timberwolves.

Howard has noticed Miles' improved play as he's been sitting out and, without being prompted, used the same word as Miles and Corbin in describing Miles' play.

"He's playing great," Howard said. "He's coming out and being aggressive like I've always told him. That's the main thing, staying aggressive throughout the whole game."

So what's going to happen now that Howard is scheduled to be back in the lineup Wednesday night and the Jazz have five players — Miles, Howard, Bell, Hayward and Burks — to fit into two positions?

For Corbin, it's a nice problem to have.

"It's healthy competition," he said. "We feel good about all 13 guys and if the situation is right, they'll be in the game. If somebody's struggling, it's a chance for them to get more minutes and it will continue to be that way.

"Guys understand it, that we're looking for whatever gives us the best chance to win that game. We have so many games in such a short amount of time, you just try to keep guys as fresh as you can and the great thing is you have bodies you feel great about putting in the game, so we can use everybody and that helps us."

Miles understands the business too, but he admits he'd rather see more minutes on the floor.

"It's kind of tough to find a rhythm," he said. "But I'm just trying to do whatever I can to keep myself on the floor. That's the biggest thing to get out on the floor and make plays and be aggressive, especially defensively, I can find myself some time."

Email: sor@desnews.com

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