The Jazz didn’t know until pregame whether DeMarre Carroll would play against Dallas on Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
They’re glad he did.
After suffering a mild concussion in a 103-98 loss at Memphis just 48 hours earlier, Carroll was cleared just in time to start against the Mavericks.
He finished with 15 points, four rebounds and six assists in a career-high 45 minutes.
Carroll “just played basketball,” said teammate Devin Harris. “He made some shots. He was aggressive and confident — just a solid all-around game.”
Because of injuries to Raja Bell, C.J. Miles and Earl Watson, Carroll has taken a far greater role than anyone could have imagined when he signed with the Jazz early in the season.
Against Dallas, he scored 11 points and had three assists in the third quarter, when the Jazz led by as many as 11 and forced the Mavs to play from behind.
“He did a great job,” said coach Tyrone Corbin. “He brought a lot of energy. He did a great, great job on the defensive end of the floor — playing different guys. He rotated onto Dirk [Nowitzki] several times and made him make tough plays.”
Yes, Corbin was most impressed by Carroll’s play on defense, where the Jazz limited the Mavericks to 42.9 percent shooting.
“He scored some points for us tonight,” Corbin said, “but the energy he brings on defense is huge.”
Asked about Carroll’s ability to play 13 more minutes than his previous career high despite his weekend concussion, Corbin shrugged.
“He’s falling right in line with the rest of the guys,” the Jazz coach said. “He’s showing character. All these guys are banged up. They’re tired. But when they step on the floor with that uniform on, they give you what they have.”
Carroll downplayed his ability to play with as much energy as he did against Dallas, which scored only 16 points in the final two overtimes.
“I was just, like, waiting for my opportunity — being a true professional,” Carroll said. “My team needed me so I just tried to go out there and produce. …
“At this point, we have five games left. Like Paul Millsap said, ‘We have to leave it all on the court.’ It’s going to come down to the last game, so we have to keep winning.”