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Jazz make more changes — Miles in starting lineup

Published January 25, 2011 12:14 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

El Segundo, Calif. — Jazz coach Jerry Sloan continues to tinker with Utah's starting lineup.

Veteran forward C.J. Miles will make his season debut tonight in the Jazz's first rotation, as a struggling Utah team faces the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

Miles was informed of his promotion by Sloan prior to a morning shootaround at the Lakers' practice facility.

"I'm just going to play," Miles said. "I've been in every situation. I don't change the way I approach the game. I just go play."

Miles, who has been the Jazz's premier scorer off the bench all season, will team with Deron Williams, Raja Bell, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.

Miles ranks fourth on the team in average points (11.9), while recording 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He is shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 33.5 percent behind the 3-point line.

Miles said that he will slightly tone down his offensive intensity, since he will not touch the ball as much in the first unit. He added that his promotion is useless unless he and his teammates improve their effort and overall performance.

"We know that we can't push the panic button on ourselves," Miles said. "We can't jump off the [band]wagon. We can't decide that, 'OK. We're losing. I'm just going to get mine.' "

Sloan is not sure whether the move will last, and he is experimenting with rotations as he attempts to spark a Utah squad that has dropped four consecutive games. He also joked that the media made the decision for him to suddenly start Miles.

"[The coaches] never talk about anything," Sloan said with a straight face. "It's always amazing."

He added: "We'll see how our team can respond. That's the biggest thing I want to see. ... We've lost the last eight quarters we've played, and we need to see if we can get some life and get back into this thing."

The move follows a decision by Sloan last Saturday to unexpectedly insert rookie forward Gordon Hayward into the starting unit and move veteran Andrei Kirilenko to the bench. Utah followed up on the change with a listless performance during a 96-85 road defeat to Philadelphia.

The Jazz's second rotation will feature veterans Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, Earl Watson and Ronnie Price, as well as Hayward, who was the ninth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Elsewhere, veteran center Francisco Elson (left quadriceps tendinitis) went through shootaround and is a game-time decision vs. Los Angeles.

— Brian T. Smith

Twitter: tribjazz