Heading into Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, C.J. Miles' previous career high for 3-point field goals made in a single game was eight. He matched that mark by halftime.
Make it rain, Mas Fresco:
Miles made his first six long balls of the evening, helping Cleveland storm out to a 16-point first-quarter lead; the Sixers didn't get any closer than 14 points after just inside the nine-minute mark of the second quarter, as the Cavs romped to a 111-93 win. His eight first-half 3s made him one of just four players ever to pour in that many by intermission, joining All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Deron Williams.
By the time the 26-year-old wing was through scorching the nets, he'd scored a season-high 34 points and gone 10 for 14 from 3-point range, becoming one of just 15 players since 1985 to post double-digit triples in a game and setting a new Cavaliers franchise record for both makes and attempts. (He'd shared the prior mark of eight makes with LeBron James, Danny Ferry and Wesley Person; James and Dan Majerle had previously led the way with 13 tries.)
After the game, Miles explained what was going through his head in the midst of his torrid shooting streak, according to Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"Um, how do I get open to get another one?" Miles said. "You feel like now, all you gotta do is get a look at the basket and it's going to go in. Because everything just feels like you're in the gym by yourself, basically."
Miles isn't the first player to feel that way while facing the Philadelphia defense this year. No team allows more 3-point attempts (27) or makes (10.1) per game than Brett Brown's Sixers.
Some of that is a function of their frenetic, league-leading pace — Philly averages 102.6 possessions per 48 minutes, the highest mark in the NBA since Nellie's go-go 2009-10 Golden State Warriors and the second-highest number in the last 14 years, according to NBA.com's stat tool — but a lot of that is due to the Sixers giving a lot of minutes to a lot of players who are not exceptionally good at defense. That can be a bad recipe when facing off against guys who can really shoot the ball — remember, if you will, that Joe Johnson (or, if you prefer, "Joe Jesus") had his 10 3-ball performance against the Sixers, and that the Portland Trail Blazers had their first of two 20-plus 3-pointer outings against the Sixers. Philly has allowed opponents to make 10 or more 3-pointers in 13 of their 35 games this season; the Sacramento Kings are a distant second with seven such outings.
Let's not fault Philly to the point of damning Miles with faint praise, though. While his Tuesday night explosion might seem shocking to fans who aren't super familiar with his eight-year NBA career — which is to say, "probably most readers" — the preps-to-pros swingman and 2005 second-round draft pick has shown a propensity to get red-hot from long-distance before. He'd posted eight prior games with five or more made 3-pointers, including that 8-for-10 outing against the Brooklyn Nets in December 2012, and popped for 40 as a member of the Utah Jazz back in 2011. He can fill it up when given the opportunity to do so, and his teammates set him up to succeed on Tuesday. From Tom Withers of The Associated Press:
"I got some clean looks," Miles said. "I'm still mad because there were a couple that I thought I could have made. But my teammates looked for me and set some screens that allowed me to get open, and all I had to do was get my feet set." [...]
"They looked for me," Miles said. "They ran some plays for me. Kyrie called some plays. Coach called some plays. The big guys screened for me, and they got me open. All I had to do was be square to the basket and everything else was just like in practice."
And when those long hours of preparation meet a defense willing to let you get just about whatever you'd like, the results can be record-setting.
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