With Josh Howard and Derrick Favors sidelined because of injury, C.J. Miles knew his role might expand Tuesday night.
He was ready.
Miles scored 19 points in 28 minutes — both season-highs — and helped lead the Jazz to a lopsided 108-79 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Miles also grabbed five rebounds and matched his career-high with four steals in one of his best all-around efforts of the year.
“It was a big chance for him to step up and he was there,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He’s a really talented guy who can do a lot of different things for us.”
Like Miles, Howard is a veteran small forward who provides Corbin’s second unit with length, athleticism and scoring.
With Howard unavailable, Miles was the first wing player off the bench. He scored eight points in the final 3:08 of the first quarter, when the Jazz expanded a 17-12 lead to 29-17.
“Knowing [Howard] is not there — knowing there’s going to be some extra time — you have to be a little bit more aggressive,” Miles said. “Knowing there are going to be some extra minutes definitely helps.”
At the same time, Miles insisted, “I have to be aggressive every night like that. There’s no reason why I can’t do that alongside him in the game. We can both bring different things to the table.”
Miles’ first basket came after a drive to the rim.
On the Clippers’ next possession, he stole the ball and raced to the other end for a layup. For Miles, who entered the game shooing 33.7 percent from the field, the easy baskets proved to be a launching pad.
“Tremendous,” Corbin said. “For him to stay in there and continue to work when he was struggling with his shot a little bit — he came in extra and got some extra shots up — is tremendous. He stayed ready.”
Miles led a spirited effort by the Jazz’s non-starters, who contributed 54 points and 23 rebounds to the victory.
“You can see everybody is confident the way they’re playing because they believe in the guy beside them,” Miles said.
“They believe they are going to make the extra pass. They believe the guy is going to help them if they get beat. So everybody just goes out there and plays hard.”
Seemingly, Miles has embraced being a veteran off the bench, like Earl Watson and Howard.
He explained: “The way that second unit is built, it definitely helps me out a lot — the way I need to play, be up and down the floor, the energy, to be able to scramble.
“That first group is more post-oriented. I mean, I can help spread the floor, but sometimes you fall into the trap of just watching because those guys are so good down there.”
A closer look
C.J. Miles’ average statistics in the Jazz’s first 12 games, compared to his production against the Clippers:
Min Pts Reb Ast Stl
16:45 7.3 2 1 0.8
28:42 19 5 1 4