NBA • Former Jazz small forward has 12 points but struggles late.
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Utah Jazz fans surprised C.J. Miles upon his introduction Saturday night as a member of the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It was a bit louder than I thought it was going to be," said the former Utah second-round draft pick of his friendly ovation in EnergySolutions Arena. "I'm glad they still have love for me here. I definitely got love for everybody here, so it was cool."
And Miles, who departed Salt Lake City as a free agent after last season, regularly enchanted and then infuriated Jazz fans.
The former Jazz wing spent much of Utah's 109-98 victory hanging out at the 3-point line on offense and floating defensively. He was, by turns, hot and cold, finishing with 12 points near his season average one rebound, two assists and a turnover.
Miles bricked his first 3-point attempt, the ball shaking the backboard. But he finished the first half with a team-high 10 points and two assists. The 26-year-old also telegraphed a cross-court pass that DeMarre Carroll picked off and turned into a dunk.
The other Miles, the inconsistent performer who often made Jazz fans shift uncomfortably in their seats, made an appearance in the third quarter. At the same time, Utah opened what was a close contest against the team with the second-worst record in the NBA.
"I didn't get into the flow of the game as much," Miles said. "They didn't make it easy.
"Randy [Foye] pretty much stayed tied to my hip the whole second half."
Miles' second half mirrored the Cavs' (10-32) fortunes.
"They played a lot harder than us in the second half," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "I thought they played a lot harder."
So, it was another disappointing night for Miles, who had to dress for the first time in the ESA visitors' locker room.
It was also emotional.
"It didn't get to me on the floor," Miles said. "I was in a rush to get started so I could stop thinking about it and start playing.
"It was great here. I spent a long time here. That doesn't happen in the league anymore. Young guys don't really stick around with the same team anymore."