Former Jazz guard C.J. Miles recognizes fewer faces on the Jazz bench with each trip to Utah. But Miles, in his second year with Cleveland, still felt welcomed as he dropped in 17 points against his former team Friday.
"It’s a little better this year than last time around," he said. "Last year’s trip wasn’t as successful. It’s always fun to see everybody. There’s not as many people on the team as I played with, but I played with Gordon [Hayward], Jeremy [Evans], Alec [Burks], Enes [Kanter] and Fave [Derrick Favors]. The coaching staff, I was with them my last year. Everyone in the building, everyone is in the same places — the security guards and everyone. It’s cool that people were showing me a little love coming back. It’s fun."
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Miles, who is averaging 10.3 points and 2.3 rebounds for Cleveland, was coming off a monster performance in which he tied a franchise record with 10 3-pointers made.
"I’ve just been aggressive everywhere instead of just being aggressive on the offensive end," said the 26-year-old, who spent his first seven seasons in Utah.
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said developing consistency for Miles is about not trying to do too much.
"We just tell C.J. to concentrate on playing defense the right way and take the open shot, he said. "I think sometimes when he presses, he gets out of sorts a little bit. When he doesn’t press and he just lets the game come to him, he’s a very good player. … He’s played for a Hall of Fame coach in Jerry Sloan. He learned a lot when he was here [in Salt Lake City]. He can play. It’s just a matter of staying within his box."
Trial and error
Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams found himself playing with the straps on his protective mask too often Friday night, and he ended up ditching the clear guard he’s sported since late November.
"I’m going to go through a little trial period the next 48 hours," he said Saturday morning. "I might retire it. I’m not sure."
Williams said he mostly was frustrated with himself in the midst of a 1-for-6 shooting night against Cleveland but added that he wasn’t worried about any long-term issues.
"That’s the first thing my pops told me when I got off the court, ‘It’s one of those days, eh kid?’" Williams said. "I’ve been around long enough. You play enough games, you’re going to have a couple nights like that."
Hayward did not practice Saturday after missing Friday’s game with a left hip flexor strain. He’s listed as a game-time decision for Monday’s matchup with the Nuggets.
Back in the mix
Rookies Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark have been on assignment with the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam since Jan. 4. But Jazz coach Ty Corbin said the two likely will return to Utah before the team leaves for its three-game road trip next week.
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