Utah Jazz: Jamaal Tinsley back to backup
Coach Tyrone Corbin has oscillated between backup point guards over several weeks, only saying that he will go with the player who gives the Jazz the best chance to win.
Well, by that metric alone, that answer aligns with Corbin's choice in the last two games.
Jamaal Tinsley played 15 minutes in the Jazz's wins against the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers, while Earl Watson's only appearance in either came late in the 32-point blowout over the Raptors. The two veterans present a quandary for Corbin and a logjam behind Mo Williams.
Tinsley is the Jazz's oldest player (he turns 35 in February) and is on a nonguaranteed contract, meaning the Jazz technically could waive him to clear up any issue. However, when Corbin has gone away from Tinsley he consistently keeps going back to the slick and savvy vet.
"I just try to make sure we push the tempo," Tinsley said after the Jazz's 117-110 win in Los Angeles on Sunday, "and try to get a good shot every time and manage the clock. Put the young guys in a situation where they can score the basketball."
During a recent five-game stretch in which Corbin benched Tinsley and played Watson in his place, the Jazz stumbled to a 2-3 mark. In four games started by Tinsley earlier when Williams was out with injuries, the Jazz were 3-1.
That's not to hang any losses on Watson, who has played admirably in 10 games since returning from April knee surgery. He tallied eight assists in back-to-back games Nov. 28 and 30, which the Jazz split with New Orleans and Oklahoma City.
Staples futility officially over
The Staples Center is no longer the pit of despair it once was for the Jazz. After enduring more than five years in which they lost 17 straight games to the Lakers at Staples, the Jazz have won three of their last four games against the Lakers on the road.
The Jazz broke their winless streak on April 5, 2011, and have hardly looked back since. On Sunday, they improved to 2-0 this season against the Lakers and have won four-straight overall against the Western Conference power.
According to Al Jefferson, the Jazz are doing it by playing their trademark brand of team basketball.
"We don't have no superstars on this team," he said. "We have some great players, but we don't have a guy like Kobe [Bryant] who can just take over the game. So we have to play together on the defensive end and the offensive end."
Now the Jazz would like to open up such a streak against another conference rival, the San Antonio Spurs. Including last year's playoffs, the Jazz have won just once in their last 11 games against the Spurs, who come to EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday. The Spurs beat the Jazz 110-100 on Nov. 3 at the AT&T Center.
Spurs at Jazz
P Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.
TV • ROOT, ESPN