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Utah Jazz: Sixth man nailing 3s

Published: Thursday, Nov. 4 2010 12:28 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz small forward C.J. Miles (34) celebrates hitting a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer ending the third quarter. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Utah Jazz small forward C.J. Miles (34) celebrates hitting a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer ending the third quarter. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It was a momentum-changing 3-pointer that couldn't have come at a better time.

But as much as he might like to make the claim, Jazz swingman C.J. Miles admittedly did not call bank on the trey that broke Toronto's back Wednesday night.

He merely thought about it.

"Halfway through the shot I knew it was gonna hit glass, though, because I shot it so high," Miles said. "I was like, 'The only way it's gonna go in is if it hits glass.' My objective was just to get it as high as possible."

Mission accomplished.

Miles' 30-footer fell to end the third quarter in a 125-108 Jazz win, sapping the Raptors' comeback hopes after they'd trimmed a 23-point Utah lead to one late in the period.

Utah Jazz small forward C.J. Miles (34) celebrates hitting a 3 point basket at the buzzer ending the third period. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Utah Jazz small forward C.J. Miles (34) celebrates hitting a 3 point basket at the buzzer ending the third period. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The long-distance shot put the Jazz up 91-84 heading into the fourth, and his 3-pointer early in final quarter gave the Jazz a 10-point cushion.

Miles capped a personal eight-point spurt with a layup that made it 97-96 with 10 minutes to go, giving the Jazz a lead that never did dip below double digits the rest of the way — and earning him the appreciation of coaches and teammates alike.

"The 3s he hit were big for us," big man Al Jefferson said of Miles, who finished with 19 points and made 5-of-6 from behind the trey line.

"When C.J. made those shots, those were heartbreakers for the other team, I'm sure — and they certainly warmed our heart when it went in," coach Jerry Sloan said. "Those are big shots C.J. made, big plays. You know, that's what we need out of him."

Sloan has Miles coming off the bench as his sixth man, and with Wednesday's showing following a 21-point outing in Sunday's win at Oklahoma City the decision is paying off.

"He didn't have a very good first half, but I thought he was a lot more aggressive in the second half," the Jazz coach said. "When you play like that, you have a possibility of having things happen for you that are worthwhile.

"We need him," Sloan added. "It's pretty obvious we need his ability to be able to come in and give us passing, handling the basketball, all those things."

Miles suggested he was just doing his job.

"Coming off the bench, I should be able to come in and make an immediate impact," he said.

"That's the role Coach is putting me in, and we talked about it. ... If I can change the game, I'm gonna do it."

In Jefferson's estimation, the value of such a spark cannot be overstated.

"C.J. can start on any team in this league, and we've got him coming off the bench," the Jazz center said. "So that's a big plus for us. A guy who can get you 19, 20 points coming off the bench can really help, and C.J.'s the man for that job."

Especially when he's knocking down 3s like Wednesday.

And even if the ones that come with a bank aren't called.

"I just wanted to get it up as high as I could, to give a chance to roll down, hit the glass, whatever it may be," said Miles, his plan's case quite convincing. "(Point guard) Deron (Williams) and I connected right before the play, and he said, 'I'm going to tap it right back to you; just try to get a clean look at the basket.' It was more luck than skill, though."

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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