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Utah Jazz: Miles returns as starter, doesn't earn much praise

Published: Saturday, Jan. 17 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

MEMPHIS — Jazz coach Jerry Sloan reiterated Friday night how he simply does not believe jobs — especially as a starter — should be lost to injury.

That's one reason small forward C.J. Miles was back in the opening lineup Friday, when the Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum here.

Miles had missed Utah's last three games with a sprained ankle.

He scored two points in 19 minutes Friday, hitting just 1-of-5 from the field — including 0-for-3 from 3-point range.

"You don't get in shape when you're not playing," Sloan said afterward. "You have a tendency to get out of shape, and that showed a little bit with the way his shooting kind of went.

"The more and more he played," Sloan added, "I thought he was getting tired."

Sloan was especially miffed by a 3-point attempt from Miles that came up short when Utah was up by 20 in the third quarter — a miss that led to the Grizzlies eventually getting to within five before Utah ultimately registered its eighth straight win over Memphis.

Miles admitted to feeling "a little weak" but said the ankle "felt good."

"My rhythm was off a little bit from not playing," he said, "and I don't have a lot of lift on my jump shot. As you can tell, it was flat. But I'll figure that out."

MILLSAP OUT: While two-time All-Star Carlos Boozer (arthroscopic knee surgery) missed his 28th straight game, replacement-starter power forward Paul Millsap sat out his third in a row due to a bruised right knee.

Millsap indicated he also doesn't expect to play when the Jazz visit Dallas tonight.

KUDOS FOR COLLINS: With Boozer and Millsap both out, and Sloan electing to play rookie Kosta Koufos just two minutes Friday, seldom-used veteran big man Jarron Collins logged a season-high 18 minutes.

Collins hit his only shot attempt, a 10-foot turnaround fadeaway with 1.7 second left in the third quarter that sent Utah into the fourth up 80-69.

"He played extremely well for not having played very much," Sloan said of Collins, who has missed much of the season with an elbow injury.

"Our young guys have a tendency sometimes to get out there and not realize the value of the possession of the basketball, and not realize what's going on, and that's why sometimes it's a little but more difficult to play them.

"Jarron understands that," the Jazz coach added. "He understands the 24-second clock, and just plays basketball. He's not gonna block shots, but he did have five rebounds and made a big basket there on the (end-of-the-quarter) play."

THE OTHER MILES: Grizzlies forward Darius Miles played 14 minutes Friday, marking his 10th NBA appearance this preseason and regular season.

That means the Portland Trail Blazers — who earlier had declared Miles unfit to continue playing because of a supposed career-ending knee injury — now are on the hook for an extra $18 million in salary-cap payroll computations over the next two seasons.

Implications: Portland can't be a major spender in this summer's free-agency shopping market, the Blazers become an over-the-luxury-tax-threshold franchise and the Jazz (along with all other under-the-luxury-tax teams) will pocket about $270,000 in kickbacks from NBA's newest taxpayer.

MISC.: After not scoring 20 or more points in back-to-back games all season prior, Jazz point guard Deron Williams — who had a game-high 27 Friday — has at least 23 in each of his last three outings. ... Memphis hasn't beaten the Jazz since a 132-130 overtime at Utah in January of 2007. ... The Grizzlies have lost five straight overall of 13 of their last 15.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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