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Utah Jazz: Miles back in starting lineup for ugly defeat

Published: Sunday, April 12 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Small forward C.J. Miles returned to the Jazz's starting lineup for Saturday night's home loss to Golden State.

Miles missed Utah's previous three outings - a win at New Orleans, and losses at Dallas and San Antonio - with a dislocated index finger on his left, shooting hand.

When Miles dislocated the digit on his left hand in an April 3 home loss to Minnesota, the Jazz first called first called him out "day-to-day."

Then they called him "doubtful" for games last week.

Miles hoped to be back even earlier, but knew — and said all along — that he'd likely miss the three road games, because that's the timetable he was given when initially injured.

Miles played with his injured finger taped to another, so he had to alter how he gripped the ball.

"It's a little sore now after the game," he said, "but it didn't bother me during the game."

With Miles playing, veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko returned to the bench.

Veteran Matt Harpring started the second half, though - Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Harpring "deserves" to start more - and Miles came off the bench behind him.

The rest of the Jazz's usual opening lineup was the same, with Deron Williams at the point, Ronnie Brewer at shooting guard, Carlos Boozer at power forward and Mehmet Okur at center.

PICK TO STAY: The Jazz will keep their first-round selection in June's NBA Draft choice.

Utah shipped a future first-rounder to Philadelphia as part of last season's Gordan Giricek to Philly for Kyle Korver trade, and the 76ers subsequently dealt the pick to Minnesota.

But the choice was protected through 22nd in the draft, and because at least eight teams are now guaranteed to finish with a better record than Utah the Jazz will keep it this year.

Next year, when Utah will receive New York's unprotected first-rounder thanks to a 2004 trade with Phoenix, the Jazz pick now owed to the Timberwolves is protected only through No. 15.

Should the Jazz wind up a non-playoff-qualifying lottery team after season the selection also is protected through No. 17 in 2011 and through No. 16 in 2012 and 2013.

ALUMNI UPDATE: A Lexington, Ky., TV station, WLEX, reported this weekend on its Web site that ex-Jazz forward Scott Padgett "will join coach John Calipari's staff" at the University of Kentucky in a still to-be-determined capacity.

Other reports suggest a deal is in the works, but nothing's been finalized.

Padgett played on the Wildcats' 1998 NCAA title team.

Selected by the Jazz late in the first round of the 1999 draft, the married father of three spent the first four of his eight NBA seasons in Utah. Padgett had additional stints with New Jersey, Houston and Memphis. The Louisville also played in Spain, and recently has been co--hosting a sports-talk radio show in Kentucky.

MISC.: Injury-hampered Golden State used just seven players Saturday. The Warriors also dressed guard Marco Belinelli - but only because NBA rules mandate that they have a minimum eight players on their bench. Belinelli has been hobbled recently by an ankle injury . . . Charter-plane issues meant the Jazz didn't get back to town from San Antonio until about 2:30 Saturday morning. The Warriors arrived around the same time, though . . . Sloan, who missed Friday's morning shootaround in San Antonio due to stomach cramps, felt ill before Saturday's game too . . . Kirilenko shot 1-for-8 from the field in the second quarter and finished 4-for-11 . . . Williams was tagged with his seventh technical foul of the season and Okur with his fourth.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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