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Utah Jazz: C.J. Miles provides Jazz with scoring spark off bench

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 1:26 a.m. MDT

C.J. Miles after making a basket as the Utah Jazz defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-85. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) C.J. Miles after making a basket as the Utah Jazz defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-85. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After pouring in 20 points in the Jazz's 94-85 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, forward C.J. Miles said he's just striving for consistency.

His overall play against Memphis was a good spot to start.

Miles sparked the Jazz off the bench, especially in the second quarter, when he scored 15 of his points — a season-high in a quarter for a Jazz player this season. The 20 points Miles scored tied his third-best total of the season.

It was a much better outing than Miles had in Utah's previous game, a 93-81 loss to Dallas on Friday night, when he had nine points and three rebounds. Miles said he hopes to eliminate the up-and-down production that has plagued him his season.

"I just want to put games together, be consistent," he said. "I've yet to be put on a level where you know what you're going to get from me. I've had great nights, and I should be able to get my 10-11 (points), and 4-5 rebounds — that's what I'm supposed to get on a bad night."

Utah's C.J. Miles drives past the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol in Monday's game. Miles contributed 20 points.        (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah's C.J. Miles drives past the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol in Monday's game. Miles contributed 20 points. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

His performance against Memphis would be classified in the "good night" category, and not just for his scoring. He played within Utah's offense, passed the ball, drove to the basket and also contributed on defense.

Miles assisted on a 3-pointer by Raja Bell that gave the Jazz an 87-81 lead. He then stole a pass by Memphis' Mike Conley, drove to the basket and converted a three-point play to put the game out of reach at 90-81 with 3:39 left to play.

Those are the types of contributions that coach Jerry Sloan wants to see from Miles.

"I would hope he would play defense first," said Sloan. "Sometimes it goes the other way. He has great range on his shot, about as deep as you want to get, I guess. I like it when we run a play and he handles the ball and passes or drives to the basket. That seems to be a little bit more efficient for us."

Utah's C.J. Miles after a steal as the Utah Jazz defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-85. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah's C.J. Miles after a steal as the Utah Jazz defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-85. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Miles' scoring doesn't hurt, either.

"We need some kind of spark (off the bench), somebody that can score, and he's given us that on a number of occasions," Sloan said.

An important occasion came against the Grizzlies.

The Jazz started the game ice cold from the field. They scored just 20 points and made 33 percent of their shots in the first quarter.

Miles then sparked the offense in the second quarter, making four of his first five shots. Utah sorely needed his production in the second period, as he scored 15 of the team's 21 points in the quarter. The rest of the Jazz shot 3-for-14 in the quarter.

"I was just trying to be aggressive, trying to mix it up and trying not to shoot straight jump shots," Miles said. "It worked to my advantage today. It was just great to be able to have a balance and be able to pick my spots, and I was able to pass when they started to pay more attention to me."

When opponents pay more attention to Miles, it's a good thing for the Jazz. That means they have to play Utah honestly and can't just sit back and plug the paint.

"It's an element of that next scoring option to keep people honest," Bell said of what Miles brings when his shot is on. "When other guys aren't feeling it, he can carry it. It makes us a really tough team when he can come in off the bench and get us points like that."

e-mail: aaragon@desnews.com

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