Jamaal Tinsley doesn’t know when he’s going to play from night to night.
That bit of information, or lack of it, doesn’t stop him from being a professional. He still lifts weights like he did when he was a starter for the Indiana Pacers. He still goes to the gym and hoists up shots. He stays in shape, because he never knows when he will be pressed into action.
For Tinsley, this is life as the third point guard with the Utah Jazz. It’s a never-ending practice in not knowing what’s next in terms of playing time. But for Tinsley, who was playing in the D-League six months ago, it’s heaven compared to where he was.
"It’s one of those things," Tinsley said. "I just have to be professional, be ready. I never know what’s going to happen. You have to be ready mentally as well as physically."
This season, Tinsley has played in 17 games. He’s started one. And at the same time, he’s been one of the more valuable players on the team. In Thursday night’s win over Minnesota, Tinsley played 21 minutes off the bench in place on an injured Earl Watson, had six points and five assists.
He kept the offense running smoothly, led the bench to 53 points and had a plus-11 ratio, the second-highest on the team behind Gordon Hayward.
"It’s just knowing the situation and making the best out of it. I’m 34 now, at the end of the day I’m blessed. So it’s just waiting for my number to be called and taking advantage of it."
A farewell of sorts
Following Thursday’s win over the Timberwolves, coach Tyrone Corbin went to the locker room and gave Al Jefferson a long hug. The big man left to be with his family for his grandmother’s funeral. He will be gone this weekend, and will rejoin the Jazz on Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Showing a glimpse
Derrick Favors will start for Jefferson. Although he went 2 for 9 from the field against Minnesota, he grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, 12 of which came in the first half.
"I was just trying to make stuff happen out there," Favors said. "It’s all about being active."
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