Houston • DeMarre Carroll was mentored by Memphis Grizzlies toughman Tony Allen. When Carroll starred in college at Missouri, he was called Junkyard Dog. In the Jazz’s 103-91 win against the Rockets on Wednesday, he re-sharpened his teeth.
Utah’s starting small forward recorded 10 points and seven rebounds — four offensive — building on his career-high 16-point outing Sunday at San Antonio.
Two fearless first-quarter dives into the stands Wednesday best captured Carroll’s growl.
He initially flew into the seats along the baseline near Utah’s bench. Then he made another leap, saving a loose ball and setting up a smooth Jazz fast break.
The selflessness said everything about Utah’s united attack against the Rockets, and set up the Jazz’s fury that followed.
“When you do that and you be aggressive, your team feeds on it. They piggyback with you, and that’s what everybody started doing,” Carroll said. “That’s all I try to do. I just try to play with all my heart and leave everything out on the floor.”
Jeremy Evans was hoping he’d be able to play despite a sprained right ankle.
That wasn’t the case Wednesday.
After injuring his ankle Monday during a home win against San Antonio, Evans dealt with swelling and pain the next 36 hours. He’d didn’t participate in shootaround Wednesday morning, and won’t know if he can play Friday at New Orleans until he re-evaluates his injury.
“It depends how it feels when I wake up,” Evans said.
More with less
With the 2012 NBA All-Star dunk champion out, Utah was limited to just 10 players against the Rockets. Four of the Jazz’s athletes were 22 or younger, while three — Jamaal Tinsley, Blake Ahearn, Carroll — combined to play just 12 games in the NBA during the 2010-11 season.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin got the most out of his starters during the first half against Houston. Four players in the Jazz’s first unit clocked at least 11:27, while Paul Millsap teamed with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter in the second unit as Utah went big.
Corbin then played Devin Harris and Tinsley together at the start of the fourth quarter.
After Harris picked up his fifth foul with 11:51 to go, Utah closed the game with Tinsley at point and another big lineup of Millsap, Favors and Al Jefferson.
“Where we are now, man, we kind of have to use who we have,” Corbin said.