Utah Jazz: New starting lineup earns mixed reviews
Washington •Tyrone Corbin changed the starters, but he couldn't change the start.
Now, the question for Utah's coach is whether he will stick with the surprising new starting lineup he unveiled in Saturday's 83-76 win over Washington or return to something more conventional.
Derrick Favors and Randy Foye replaced Marvin Williams and Gordon Hayward in the lineup, a layered decision by Corbin, who hoped the new lineup would: 1) provide more offensive punch early; 2) open things up for Hayward playing with the bench unit; 3) create mismatches for the Jazz.
Well, it did one of the three, with Hayward thriving in the first half, scoring 13 of his 15 points.
However, the Jazz were unable to avoid a slow start, falling behind 15-2 before a Hayward-led second unit erased the deficit.
Reactions to the lineup were tepid.
"I didn't feel too comfortable with it tonight," Paul Millsap said. "I'm not going to lie."
While the power/small forward said, on the whole, he "doesn't have a problem" with the big lineup, he struggled against Washington's Trevor Ariza, who scored 16 first-half points.
"We asked him to do something different right from the beginning of the game and he's not accustomed to chasing a guy off," Corbin said. "It may be difficult for him. We can use it in spots when the matchups make sense, but we'll look at it. We'll evaluate it again and see."
Millsap had his worst offensive game of the season, making just 2 of 13 field goal attempts. Foye, too, had a hard time making the adjustment, finishing with 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting.
"It's the first night we started that way," Millsap said. "It was a little adjustment, but I'm sure we'll overcome it."
DeMarre Carroll didn't score 17 points like he did on Friday in Philadelphia, but his overall game just may have been better.
"I thought he was key for us," Corbin said. "I give him the most valuable guy of the night, because his energy was what carried us."
After playing in just one of the Jazz's six games preceding Friday's loss to the 76ers, Carroll played 23 minutes for the second straight night. He was held to seven points on 2-of-5 shooting, but grabbed seven rebounds and made several key plays by just getting his hands on the ball.
"I think this was a complete game for me," Carroll said. "Yesterday was a good game for me scoring-wise, but this was more of a complete game."
Carroll, who sat down with Corbin 10 days ago in Denver to discuss his role on the team, has remained composed and professional, Corbin said. In the last two games of the Jazz's road trip, his patience paid off.