With Andrei Kirilenko out, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan hoped seldom-used reserve swingman C.J. Miles would respond.
"He stumbled a little bit at the beginning of the season," Sloan said before the Jazz's win Wednesday over Minnesota. "That's what happens. But give him the credit, because he's worked real hard to try to get himself back. He just needs opportunities, and they don't always come real easy — unless (there's) an injury, and then you have to be ready to take advantage of it."
The sprained right hip Kirilenko sustained while being fouled by Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki on Monday provided just that chance.
Yet Sloan, who praised Miles for his efforts in the Dallas game, didn't seem particularly impressed with Wednesday's showing. He played 26 minutes — the most he's had since Dec. 28 — and scored nine points on 3-of-7 field shooting.
"He should be, what, a (junior) in college?" Sloan said of Miles, a third-year pro straight out of high school who doesn't turn 21 years old until later this month. "And he's playing against guys like Kirk Snyder. He's been around a while. And what did (Snyder) do to start the game? Went right at him.
"And it's like, 'Well, I've got to have help.' But first of all, in this world, you've got to help yourself first. That's the reality. ... And if you've done all that, then maybe you get some help. But it's hard to get help when you don't do much for yourself."
Said Miles: "It felt real good, just to be out there and just try to get a rhythm back. I missed some shots I should have made, but at the same time I just tried to play hard."
T-MAC'S TAKE: Houston guard Tracy McGrady weighed in Tuesday on Nowitzki's foul on Kirilenko, telling the Houston Chronicle — before the league announced Wednesday that Nowitzki would be suspended for tonight's game against the Rockets — that "He should be (suspended). ... To slam a guy to the ground like that, it was a hard foul. It should have been a flagrant-2."
BOOZER'S DEFENSE: Sloan on Wednesday suggested the Jazz need more of the defense that Boozer flashed at times against Dallas on Monday.
"I thought he got out and started on Nowitzki out on the floor pretty good, for the most part," he said.
"I don't think he realizes how important it is for us, sometimes, to be able to give us that presence," Sloan added. "That's what young players who have established themselves a little bit through the offense (need). We need the defensive part every time. Every day. And I think that's a huge help to us, when he does that."
HE SAID IT: Boozer, when asked if Jazz players would be on good behavior Wednesday because NBA David Stern was in town: "We're a good team. ... Regular days we're good people, so it's no big deal for us."
MISC.: Ex-Jazz guard Snyder, recently traded from Houston to Minnesota, scored a season-high 16 points. ... Former University of Utah big man Michael Doleac mad a rare appearance for the Timberwolves, going scoreless with four rebounds in five minutes. It was just the 19th game Doleac has played this season. ... According to the Boston Globe, Utah native Scot Pollard said Wednesday he will miss the rest of the season because of a torn tendon in his left ankle — an injury that's lingered since October. His absence will include the Jazz's March 14 visit to Boston. Pollard had played in just 25 of Boston's games prior to Wednesday.