Utah cruises past Wolves
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- C.J. Miles scored a career-high 40 points and cemented his new starting role as the Utah Jazz cruised to a 119-104 victory Wednesday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves, giving Ty Corbin his first back-to-back wins as coach.
The game was almost a complete reversal of Friday night's matchup, when the Timberwolves made their first 11 shots en route to a 121-101 rout in Minnesota.
On Wednesday, Miles hit his first seven shots, including four from 3-point range, for 18 points in the opening quarter. His only miss came at the buzzer with a defender in his face.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but he got going too late to help the Timberwolves, who have dropped two straight.
The Jazz were coming off a 112-107 overtime win Monday night against Philadelphia.
With forward Paul Millsap still out with a knee injury, rookie Derrick Favors made his second straight start for the Jazz.
But it was Miles who had the biggest impact.
He started again in place of veteran Raja Bell as Corbin tried to mix things up to get Utah going early. It worked, as Miles scored from outside and with strong moves to the basket.
Miles finished 14-of-18 overall and 6-of-7 from three-point range. He had 25 points by halftime.
Utah held a 38-18 advantage in the paint at halftime and led, 71-50. The 71 first-half points were a season high. The Jazz shot 62.2 percent in the first half, while holding the Wolves to 35.6 shooting.
The Jazz led by as many as 26 in the first half, and 24 in the third quarter before Minnesota cut Utah's lead to 92-80 entering the fourth quarter.
The Wolves were within 10 points before Al Jefferson (26 points) and Andrei Kirilenko (15 points) made key plays for the Jazz.
Love, who saw his franchise-record streak of 53 consecutive double-doubles come to an end in Sunday's loss at Golden State, had only two rebounds at halftime.
Favors set the tone early by blocking a shot by Michael Beasley. By halftime, the Jazz had six block shots, four by Jefferson, who was a rebound shy of a double-double heading into the locker room.
The game was tied at 32 with 39 seconds left in the first quarter after Martell Webster hit a three-pointer for the Minnesota. But Miles hit his fourth straight three-pointer to start a 10-0 run that extended into the second quarter.
Rookies Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans kept things rolling for the Jazz in the second quarter. Hayward made two passes inside to Jefferson for dunks, and Evans dunked off a powerful move to the basket to give the Jazz 42-32 lead.
Reserve guard Earl Watson then hit a short jumper and threw up an alley-oop to Evans, whose dunk made it 46-36, Utah.
Back-to-back dunks by Favors and Kirilenko boosted Utah's lead to 15 points, and Miles converted a three-point play for a 60-40 Jazz lead with 3:58 left in the half.
The 17-2 run continued with two more three-point plays by Jefferson.
The effort provided the Jazz with a measure of hope that they still might make the playoffs. They were in 10th in the Western Conference standings entering the game and expect to get Millsap back from a knee injury Sunday at Houston.
While he may be back in the starting lineup, Corbin has found another guard in Miles.
Even Bell, while not happy Tuesday with the way he was informed of the switch, admitted that Miles is a better player in a starting role.