When the Utah Jazz acquired veteran 3-point specialist Kyle Korver on Saturday in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, it seemed like the likely odd-man out in the rotation would be young C.J. Miles.
But judging by Wednesday night's 110-107 win over the Sixers at EnergySolutions Arena, Miles is not out of the picture just yet. It was Miles, not starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer or Korver, who played the bulk of the fourth-quarter minutes in the narrow victory.
Miles made the most of it, too, scoring 10 of his 12 points during his nearly 10 minutes of action in the final period.
"The fourth quarter is the best part of the game," said Miles. "That's the part of the game you love to be in because you can make a difference. I was able to get some open looks and knock them down. I was just doing what I could do to help the team."
Korver, for his part, understood why he didn't get into the game in the second half until the final 2:19.
"There was a reason I wasn't on the floor (during most of the fourth quarter)," said Korver. "It was because (Miles) was playing so well."
Both Korver and Miles realize there is only so much playing time to go around. Still, they are trying to be supportive of each other.
"I was talking to C.J. before the game, and I said, 'I know we're competing for minutes, so to say, but I hope you know that I'm all for you, and I hope you're all for me, and when you're out there playing, I'm going to be cheering you on.'"
All three shooting guards scored double digits on Wednesday. Brewer finished with 11 points, Miles had a dozen and Korver added 14. Both Miles and Korver went 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
"We push each other," said Miles of the shooting guard situation. "We root each other on and are making each other better."
That's just how Jazz coach Jerry Sloan likes it. "That's what it should be," said Sloan. "Compete for a job instead of having the job given to you."
Miles is still only 20, but he's already in his third season in the NBA. He was seldom used in his first two years and even didn't see action in eight games this season despite being healthy and ready to play. He started getting more playing time in recent weeks when Gordon Giricek fell deeper and deeper into Sloan's doghouse. Giricek was finally traded along with a conditional first-round draft pick for Korver.
"He's been phenomenal, man," said Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer of Miles. "He's been knocking down shots, playing good defense, getting steals, making free throws. He's been terrific. I'm really excited for him because he had two years when he wasn't seeing much playing time. So to see him get playing time and thrive out there, I'm happy for C.J."And, at least for now, Korver, the new guy competing with Miles for playing time, is happy for him, too.