In a league loaded with scoring point guards, the Utah Jazz have been forced to take a different approach to their season.
With Mo Williams sidelined indefinitely after thumb surgery, coach Tyrone Corbin starts Jamaal Tinsley, with Earl Watson as his primary back-up.
Second-year player Alec Burks is also getting some minutes at point guard, but Tinsley and Watson have done most of the work.
Neither veteran looks to do much scoring, although Corbin has encouraged them to be aggressive on offense.
“I told both those guys, ‘Just take the right shots,’ ” Corbin said. “I told them, ‘If it’s in the rotation of the offense and the ball comes back out to you, shoot it, because that may be the best shot we get in that 24-second possession.’”
The Jazz don’t play again until Saturday night, when they play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Utah comes off Monday night’s 104-97 victory over Miami, which improved the Jazz’s record to 7-5 since Williams was injured on Dec. 22.
Against the Heat, Tinsley and Watson combined to play 40 minutes. Tinsley scored three points on 1-for-7 shooting. Watson did not take a shot.
“We want them to shoot the ball,” Corbin said. “... They just have to take the right shots — when it’s the right time for them and for us.”
How different are the Jazz when they are quarterbacked by Tinsley and Watson?
Despite being sidelined for three weeks, Williams is still fourth on the team in field-goal attempts behind Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward.
Keeping the Heat down
The Jazz thoroughly outplayed the Heat in the first three quarters before holding off a fierce rally and scoring their most impressive victory of the season.
With the loss, Miami dropped to 8-9 on the road. Four teams in the Eastern Conference — Chicago, New York, Brooklyn and Milwaukee — have been better on the road than the reigning NBA champions.
“Everybody in our locker room — staff, players, everybody — has to give more,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s the bottom line. We have to give more to get over the hump and get a quality win.”
LeBron James scored 32 points, meaning he’s had at least 30 in nine of his last 11 games against Utah.
“It was low energy — low energy against a team like this on their floor, with this amazing crowd,” James said. “[We] can’t play with low energy. We kind of gave them a little bit of everything.”
Miami plays at Golden State on Wednesday night, and James needs only 18 points to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000.
The Jazz are 9-5 against the Eastern Conference. ... By outlasting the Heat, Utah improved to 12-5 in games decided by seven points or less. ... Hayward has reached double figures in 11 of his last 13 games. In the last eight games, he’s made 16 of his 28 3-point attempts. ... The Jazz drew their third sellout crowd of the season against Miami. The other two: Nov. 7 against the Lakers and Dec. 28 against the Clippers. ... The Jazz did not practice Tuesday and also are taking Wednesday off.
Jazz vs. Cavs
Saturday, 7 p.m.