Oakland, Calif. • Coach Tyrone Corbin knew the Jazz would be short-handed Thursday. But he had no idea the deck would be stacked.
When Corbin spoke with the media 75 minutes before tipoff against the Golden State Warriors, backup Jazz point guard Earl Watson had already been ruled out due to a sprained left ankle.
Just 30 minutes later, Utah suffered another blow. Starting point guard Devin Harris was a late scratch, unable to play because of a strained left hamstring he aggravated Wednesday during a home loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.
With Harris and Watson out, the Jazz were suddenly down to one.
Nine-year veteran Jamaal Tinsley — who didn’t play in the NBA in 2010-11 — instantly became Utah’s starter. Despite the fact he was with the Development League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders right before the NBA’s 2011-12 training camp started. And despite the fact he entered Thursday’s game averaging just 0.4 points, 0.9 assists and 5 minutes in nine games for Utah, often being relegated to a cheering role on the bench.
Tinsley played well in his first start, recording a game-high 13 assists, to go along with nine points, six rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes against the Warriors.
Watson was initially listed as doubtful against the Warriors. After traveling with Utah to Oakland, though, he left the team and flew to Los Angeles to receive a second opinion about his sprained ankle.
Corbin said he supported Watson’s decision. The Jazz are unlikely to practice Friday after playing a home-away back-to-back, and Corbin said Watson used the window to further evaluate his ankle, which he injured against the Clippers.
“You want to make sure that they feel comfortable with everything that’s going on,” Corbin said. “You want to get him back on the floor and he want[s] to get back on the floor — whatever we can do to assist in that and the best interest of the player.”
The Jazz only had 10 active players against Golden State. Utah starting shooting guard Raja Bell missed his third consecutive game due to a strained right adductor. Bell did not travel with the team and an update about his status was not provided by tipoff Thursday. … No Jazz player was among the top vote-getters for the 2012 Western Conference All-Star starters, which were announced Thursday. Reserves will be named Feb. 9. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are Utah’s most likely options, but they face tough competition at the forward and center spots. Jeremy Evans could be selected for the dunk contest, while Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks are eligible for the annual Rookie-Sophomore game.