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Aaron Falk and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm

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Corbin is considering start for Howard in Game 1

Coach Tyrone Corbin hinted Saturday morning that he might start veteran Josh Howard at small forward in Game 1 of the Jazz's first-round playoff series against San Antonio.

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Howard has played 31 minutes in two games since returning from mid-March knee surgery.

"There is some thought to starting him," Corbin said before the Jazz worked out for the final time before Game 1. "We'll make the decision [later] today. We'll see how he does in practice. ... He would give us an advantage -- because of his experience -- with that starting group."

Howard, who has played in 62 playoff games in his career, would replace DeMarre Carroll in the starting lineup. Corbin said he would not consider moving Paul Millsap from power forward to small forward and starting Derrick Favors, even though the Jazz's big lineup has been effective down the stretch.

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The Jazz are heavy underdogs against the Spurs, so Corbin was asked if he would be happy with a split of Games 1 and 2 in San Antonio.

"We're looking to win two games," he said. "I mean, you don't play the game to lose. You play the game to win every time you step on the floor. That's our approach to it. That's always been our approach to it. Whether you win or not, that's the thing. But you are looking to win it before the game starts."

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Raja Bell (knee) has played 18 minutes in one game since March 15. His role in the series against the Spurs is uncertain, but he has played in 68 playoff games during his career, including 40 starts.

Bell hasn't scored in double figures since he had 10 points at Houston on Feb. 19. At the time, it was his sixth straight game in double figures.

"I felt like I was starting to find myself again," Bell said. "But injuries happen. It was fluky and it's been tough to sit and watch. But when you play as long as I have, these kind of things happen. You have to stay the course. When you're able to play, you have to be prepared and be ready when they call your name."

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Bell on the 50-win Spurs: "They've got a lot of guys that can put the ball on the floor and a lot of guys that can shoot. They keep you spaced out. You have to know where to be against them. You have to have your body in the right position. You have to anticipate a little against them. But they are tough. Whether you've played 50 playoffs games or never played in the playoffs, they are good at putting you in precarious situations."

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Bell on San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "Pop is the best in the business at taking what he's got and making the best out of it. I got to spend a training camp and a preseason with them and he puts you in a position to succeed. Whatever you do best, he finds a way to utilize that, and I think you see his players respond to that."

-- Steve Luhm



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