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Utah Jazz: C.J. Miles delivers again

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 9:01 p.m. MDT

Utah's C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points, drives on Sacramento's Omri Casspi in the 94-83 Jazz victory.  (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah's C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points, drives on Sacramento's Omri Casspi in the 94-83 Jazz victory. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — First he did a local TV interview on the EnergySolutions Arena floor. Then he spoke with NBA TV, talking via videophone to the national network crew back in Atlanta. Finally he made his way to the Jazz locker room, talking to another round of reporters there.

C.J. Miles was everywhere, basically, following the Jazz's 94-83 win over Sacramento on Monday night.

It was much the same way during the game, when Utah's sixth-man swingman scored a game-high 20 points, hit 8-of-13 from the field, dished four assists, pulled down four rebounds, blocked a couple shots and even nabbed a steal.

"It feels good to be able to play that way — to be able to be active, and not think," Miles said.

"I'm not making a conscious effort to score, but I'm being aggressive and just making plays," he added. "It feels better to play that way than to come in thinking that's what you've got to do when you come off the bench."

Utah's C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points, drives on Sacramento's Omri Casspi in the 94-83 Jazz victory.  (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah's C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points, drives on Sacramento's Omri Casspi in the 94-83 Jazz victory. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Miles' effort Monday followed a season-high performance Saturday in Portland, where 21 of his 25 points came on 7-for-10 3-point shooting.

This time he took the ball to the basket, driving the lane for a nifty dunk and finishing alley-oop passes from Earl Watson and Deron Williams for two high-flying buckets.

He knocked down multiple mid-range jumpers, and one of three trey tries.

Miles even was on the delivery end of what could have been yet another highlight alley-oop — had teammate Ronnie Price not tapped it in from closer to the ground than the rim.

"He said his leg went dead," Miles laughed, glancing toward Price's locker. "But we all know what he can do."

The Jazz got a full dose of what Miles can do, too, during a memorable 48-hour span.

Utah's C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points, drives on Sacramento's Omri Casspi in the 94-83 Jazz victory.      (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah's C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points, drives on Sacramento's Omri Casspi in the 94-83 Jazz victory. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"When he gets on a run," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Monday, "he's a very good player.

"He's just got to continue to be a little bit more efficient, and work on getting the ball to the basket a little bit more and not rely strictly on his outside shot - although it's been going in pretty well."

On the heels of hitting his career high for successful 3-pointers in a game and setting a Jazz record for most 3-pointers in a quarter without a miss (five in the fourth Saturday), Miles made a concerted effort Monday to do just that.

"I knew I wasn't going to get 10 3-pointers off tonight, after last game," he said. "So I took advantage of everybody running at me, and just the way (the Kings) were rotating, and just tried to attack the basket.

"I tried to come out and just let the game come to me a little bit. I tried to make some passes, because I knew I was going to have a little bit of attention coming off the bench in the beginning. Then it just opened up.

"And I tried to be active defensively, to get myself in transition," Miles added, "because I knew that would be the easiest way for me to score."

Points are, after all, what the Jazz need most from Miles when he's playing on a second unit whose next-highest scorers are reserve center Kyrylo Fesenko and occasionally used second-round rookie forward Jeremy Evans.

"We need that coming off the bench," Sloan said. "We need somebody to help us score."

Miles, who struggled with his long-range shot early on in the season, is more than happy to oblige.

And doing so Monday on top of what he did Saturday made it particularly satisfying, even if it did mean some extra media-relations responsibilities afterward. "That," Miles said, "was my main focus: to be able to try to put games together."

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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