LOS ANGELES: When C.J. Miles returned to the locker room Saturday night, he had a text waiting from his mother. She doesn’t like his body language on the court, and it’s easy to see why.
The Cavs’ lone free-agent signing is struggling miserably through his first three games. He was signed to provide some veteran leadership and a little scoring punch, but Miles is shooting 18 percent (4-of-22) and doesn’t appear to be pulling out of it anytime soon.
He missed all six of his shots in the loss Saturday to the Milwaukee Bucks and went scoreless in 15 minutes on the court. It was the first time he went scoreless in a game since Jan. 25, 2010, when he played five minutes and took just two shots for the Utah Jazz.
Miles was visibly upset Saturday night with his performance. He slammed a towel down in disgust during the game and was consoled by assistant coach Jamahl Mosley as the Cavs departed the court at the half.
Asked what isn’t working for him right now, Miles responded bluntly, “Everything.”
“Plain and simple, I’ve got to find a way to help this team,” Miles said. “I’m not making no excuses.”
Miles shot 41 percent in the preseason, which is in line with his career mark of 42 percent spanning seven years with the Jazz. But the shots stopped falling last week right about the time the games started counting.
“Obviously in the preseason and training camp I was able to make shots, but that can’t be the only thing I do to help my team,” Miles said. “I have to figure it out before it’s too late, and I don’t have a chance to help my team.”
He’s on to something, because Cavs coach Byron Scott made it clear prior to the game Saturday that he’s not waiting around on guys anymore.
“I’m not going to be that patient,” Scott said. “I’m not going to wait two or three weeks and say, ‘OK, let’s change the lineup.’ I’m not going to wait that long, believe me.”
After the Cavs’ bench was ineffective again in the first half against the Bucks, Scott cut his rotation back to primarily Miles, Tyler Zeller and Daniel Gibson. Scott said he’ll enter the game today against the Los Angeles Clippers playing likely eight and no more than nine guys while he sorts through the bench’s problems.
Miles’ playing time isn’t in danger yet, but it could be if he doesn’t at least straighten out his defensive problems. Bucks reserve Mike Dunleavy had 29 points Saturday and plenty of them came with Miles defending him.
“It’s something he’s just going to have to continue to try and work out,” Scott said. “The one thing I’ll tell him is the first thing you’ve got to do is think about the defensive end. Quit thinking about your shot and all that other stuff. He has to do a better job on that [defensive] end first and foremost before the other parts of his game come together.”
The Cavs flew to Los Angeles late Saturday night after the game and took Sunday off. It was a needed day of rest for Miles, who said he would use the time to clear his head a little bit.
After finding a comfort zone in Utah, Miles was a free agent for the first time in the summer. Now that he’s in a new city and with a new team, he’s feeling the pressure to perform.
“I’ve felt it since the second I signed. I do have something to prove,” Miles said. “That’s not even a question. It’s something I have to do, but I’m not going to do it doing what I’m doing right now.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.