C.J. Miles was kind of hoping he might get a few more minutes on Wednesday night after that career-best, 29-point ballgame he had on Monday, but he also knew that Andrei Kirilenko was back starting after missing three games with a bruised calf.
"I mean, yeah, of course, a game like last one, I have hopes of getting in more every game, especially feeling as confident as I am after the last game," said Miles, who went from playing a season-high 30 minutes against Washington to a minute below his average of 12:10 minutes a game Wednesday in EnergySolutions Arena against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Jazz won the game 117-100. Miles scored five, making both of his shorter-range shots and missing his two 3-point tries with the shot clock running down, he said.
"That's my role. I've been in and out of it all year," Miles said, "knowing that if somebody comes back that my time is going to go down.
"I still got a chance to get into the game, make some plays. Every time I get to play, I try to stay ready. I didn't play until the second half today, but I think I made a couple plays and just tried to play aggressively."
Coach Jerry Sloan, having been asked already what he said about 15 times, apparently by fans, Wednesday night about why Miles played so little, said the biggest thing was Kirilenko being back.
"Andrei didn't lose a job because he got hurt," Sloan said. "He has the job to lose now that he's healthy if there's such a thing."
But he also asked if anybody who wanted to see more Miles had seen the two games prior to Monday's, when Sloan said the youngster played deficient defense. "That's the typical thing when somebody comes out and scores, they never talk about any other part of it."
Sloan also brought up how Miles didn't play as a free agent in the Rocky Mountain Revue last summer, wanting to avoid injury as he sought another offer to play but wound up re-signing with the Jazz.
"That's why we have to make decisions," Sloan said. "There's not animosity, we have to make decisions on what we think is best for our team, not what the fans think."
Miles has done a pretty good job handling the ins and outs of Sloan's system, according to a couple of his teammates.
Kyle Korver, who plays the same positions and sometimes gets more minutes than other times, said they both understand the situation.
"You know what? It's tough. Coach is in a tough position," Korver said. "There's a lot of guys that want to play, and they can play. We just happen to be overloaded a little bit at that position. It's a tough thing.
"He handles it really well, C.J. does. He comes to work every day. He's very professional about it. It's a good sign because he's got a long and bright future ahead of him."
Korver said it's easier for Miles, himself, Ronnie Brewer, Ronnie Price and Matt Harpring to handle fluctuating playing time because they all work out extra, shooting together, after practices. They all work, and the Jazz are winning, "so it's hard to sit here and be like, 'I should be playing more than him.' You know what I mean? It's a tough situation."
"It's definitely tough on him. He's a young kid, and he's like a little brother of mine," said Deron Williams of Miles, who is also from Dallas, "so I try to talk to him, keep him focused. He knows it's a business and sometimes it's tough, but I think he does a great job of not showing his emotions and comes out and plays hard. He came out tonight and did a great job in limited minutes."
Like Korver, Williams sees a big future for Miles.
"The sky's the limit for him. He's 21 years old and still has a lot of room to improve. He's super-athletic, can shoot it, drive, pass. He does everything well," Williams said."I know the situation," said Miles. "After the first time, it was kind of different because I hadn't played for so long, but now that I know the situation (and have been in it) three, four, maybe five times, I know what's going on."
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