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Jamaal Tinsley approaches career assists milestone
Jazz notes » Ninth-year veteran guard needs two assists to reach 3,000.
First Published Apr 17 2012 02:31 pm • Last Updated Apr 18 2012 12:03 am

Utah Jazz veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley could reach a significant career milestone Wednesday night at Portland.

Tinsley, who’s in his ninth NBA season, needs two assists against the Trail Blazers to reach 3,000.

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"It’s good," Tinsley said before Tuesday morning’s practice. "I didn’t notice that. But over my career, that’s what I’ve done a lot -- getting assists. So it’s good to accomplish that. Hopefully. I can keep it going."

Tinsley’s milestone is more impressive because he’s played only 110 NBA games since the end of the 2006-07 season.

He did not play last year and was signed by the Jazz as a free agent in the offseason.

"Sometimes it’s all about how you respond to adversity and he’s done an incredible job for us," said Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor.

"He’s one of the harder working guys on our team. He kept himself in incredible shape waiting his turn and, when the opportunity presented itself, he delivered."

Tinsley, 34, averages 3.8 points and 3.2 assists in 13.2 minutes this season.

He had been Utah’s No. 3 point guard behind Devin Harris and Earl Watson. But he became Harris’ primary backup after Watson suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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"Wet willy" aftermath

The morning after Delonte West stuck a finger in his ear during Utah’s 123-121 triple-overtime win over Dallas, Gordon Hayward admitted his first instinct was to confront the Mavs’ veteran guard.

Instead, he walked away.

"You have to keep your composure more than getting into a fight or anything like that," Hayward said.

The incident began when West fouled Hayward as the two ran up the floor. West kept talking to Hayward and, at one point, stuck a finger in his ear.

After reviewing the play on TV, the officials gave West a technical foul but, strangely perhaps, did not eject him for an incident that could have triggered something worse.

Said Hayward, "He bumped me and it’s like, ‘O.K., he’s obviously frustrated.’ Then, when he did the second [thing], it’s like, ‘Man, we’ve got him right where we want him.’"

According to Hayward, the Jazz "got the last laugh" by beating the Mavericks.

West could be facing disciplinary action by the NBA, which Hayward’s teammates criticized.

" ... I thought it was childish," Jeremy Evans said. "But, as far as Gordon, I thought he was really strong — keeping his composure. A lot of guys really can’t do that."

Said rookie Alec Burks: "There’s no call for that. I mean, we’re all grown men. You can’t challenge somebody’s manhood out there like that. I didn’t like that at all."

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