Just 32 seconds into Monday night's game, C.J. Miles got an open look from point guard Deron Williams and nailed it.
It was the start of a beautiful night for the young guard, who just turned 21 two weeks ago today. He was inserted in the Utah Jazz starting lineup for their game against the Washington Wizards at EnergySolutions Arena due to injuries to Ronnie Brewer and Andrei Kirilenko.
The basket looked so big to Miles he even thought the shot was closer, and easier, than what the official play-by-play said.
"The first shot I got was a wide-open, like, 16-footer, and that's probably the easiest shot us guards get in our offense, so being able to get a wide-open shot from the beginning helped out a lot, helped out so much," said Miles.
"I thought every single one was going in."
He went on to a career night and was a big reason that the Jazz set a franchise record for 3-pointers made (15) as he made a career-best four of them on six tries.
Miles finished by smashing his career high of 23 points, scoring 29, with a career-high-tying five assists to help the Jazz to a season-high of 40 helpers in Utah's 129-87 victory.
The Jazz broke their 3-point record of 14 that they'd set against New Orleans on Feb. 4.
"The last time it was Kyle (Korver)," Miles said of the Feb. 4 game, in which his teammate was the hero.
Miles said he was able to get open by watching what teammates Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer were doing and playing a role in it. "Today, the pick-and-roll" was working well, Miles said. "Booz and D-Will get a lot of attention off that, and I just tried to slide on the wings and just tried to get in the open gaps and knock down shots, and I was able to hit some."
"Whenever I feel somebody's hot, that's my job to look for him and give him open looks," said Williams, who looked for Miles and Memo Okur a lot, especially in the first half. Miles was 3-for-3 from long distance, and Okur made 2-for-5. On all of his first-half shots, Miles was 6-for-7.
Just after he'd scored 23 points to break his season high and tie his career high, coach Jerry Sloan took Miles out of the game. He was 10-for-13 shooting at the time, and Utah had a 94-57 lead.
Miles had no idea if he'd get a chance to break his career high, but he knew that it was 23 and knew he was there when he came out.
"I didn't know because I knew Mo (Almond) was going to get in, and I didn't know if (Sloan) was going to put me back in for Kyle or Matt (Harpring). I didn't know how he was going to do it, but I got the chance. When I got in and was able to break it, it was a good feeling," Miles said.
"I thought he tried to run the floor a lot better," Sloan said of his youngster, who sometimes goes long stretches of games without playing but has put in roughly double the number of minutes he got all of last season. "He tried to get up and play somebody.
"What grows your recognition is obviously the scoring," said Sloan. "What hurts you the most is when you don't defend. I thought he tried harder to defend ... get his hands on the basketball."
Miles said he knows that's something he needs to do, and he thinks he has improved.
"I do," he said. "I think that kept me in the game this whole season. I think that was the biggest thing that helped me out a lot, showing that I was getting better defensively and that I was working at it.
"I knew if I wasn't making shots, I had to have a reason to stay on the floor."
But Miles is known best for his shooting, and this game really showed it off."Oh, man, it was great, just to be in rhythm and guys finding me. I just tried to stay moving and get open for the guys to find me and knock down some shots. It was great just to be out there in rhythm and really be in the game from start to finish," he said.
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