Indianapolis • Jamaal Tinsley is officially back in the game.
The Jazz point guard wasn’t waived Tuesday and Utah is expected to guarantee his contract Friday for the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
It’s been a long, unpredictable road back to the NBA for the 33-year-old Tinsley. He forced his way out of Indiana, then played his way out of the league during 2010-11 after struggling with Memphis.
A late addition to Utah’s training camp roster, Tinsley has fit in perfectly with the Jazz. He’s become a respected voice inside the locker room and on the bench. And the seen-it-all nine-year veteran still has a soft touch on the hardwood, which he proved Thursday by filling in as a last-minute starter against Golden State and walking off the court with a game-high 13 assists and nine points.
"He’s been a tremendous pro," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Tinsley didn’t travel with Utah for the team’s 104-99 loss to the Pacers on Tuesday, instead remaining in New York to attend to a family matter following the Jazz’s defeat Monday to the Knicks.
"It’s unfortunate timing. It came up when we were in New York and he had a chance to see some of his family there. We wish him well," Corbin said. "It just kind of happened. The timing of it is just coincidental."
The Jazz entered Tuesday ranked last out of 30 teams in 3-point shooting, hitting only 28.9 percent of their attempts.
Utah made 4 of 10 against Indiana, but the Jazz fired only one long-range ball during the fourth quarter and failed to sink it. With the Pacers crowding the paint and focusing on Utah bigs Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, the Jazz’s lack of an outside threat again hurt the team.
Six Utah players scored in double figures during the loss to Indiana and the Jazz’s bench outscored the Pacers 36-24. However, Indiana’s well-balanced starting five was the difference-maker. Led by Darren Collison’s game-high 25 points, everyone from Danny Granger and Paul George to Roy Hibbert alternately took turns carrying the Pacers.
"When it came down to it, we made the plays at crunch time," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "Our greatest weapon is the ability to move the ball — find the open man with five guys who can score."
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