Oklahoma City • The Jazz will likely be without starting small forward Marvin Williams on Friday when they play the Thunder here as Williams continued to be evaluated for concussion symptoms Thursday.
Williams is listed as doubtful for Friday’s game, which could cause problems for coach Tyrone Corbin when it comes to figuring out a matchup for Thunder small forward Kevin Durant.
However, the immediate concern for the Jazz is the health of Williams, who hit his head late in the third quarter of the Jazz’s win over New Orleans on Wednesday night.
“I saw the fall,” Corbin said. “He hit his head pretty hard, he said it really hurt and he had headache on the plane when we left the arena. So they were checking to see if he had a headache again this morning. They said it wasn’t as bad.”
Point guard Mo Williams, who has missed three games with a right foot injury, practiced with the Jazz on Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena and is listed as a game-time decision.
If Marvin Williams, acquired from Atlanta in an offseason trade for Devin Harris, can’t play on Friday, Corbin has options: He could start either Gordon Hayward or DeMarre Carroll at small forward. He said it is unlikely he would start Paul Millsap at the position, despite his experience, due to the matchup with Durant.
Williams has played in each of the Jazz’s 16 games and started all but two. He averages 10.4 points per game and has become more productive as he’s grown into the Jazz’s system. Additionally, he’s a noted defender and with his size is the most logical matchup for Durant, who has led the NBA in scoring each of the last three seasons and is second this year at 26.6 points per game.
Sixty-six to go
The Jazz’s 96-84 win over the Hornets at New Orleans Arena was their 16th game of the year. In an 82-game regular season, that means the Jazz have 66 games remaining — the same number of games the team played last year in the compressed lockout season.
This year, though, the Jazz have nearly a month more to spread out those 66 games. Last season, the Jazz opened the regular season nearly two months late, on Dec. 27.
The lockout year was a dizzying sequence of back-to-back-to-backs and back-breaking road trips. Corbin said he simplified the offense so the Jazz wouldn’t confuse themselves and because he knew teams couldn’t devote enough time to figure it out.
“You just can’t fathom last year,” he said. “It’s a blur. I’m glad we’re 16 games into the regular season, with 66 games and a month more to work them out.”