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Utah Jazz: Tinsley to play first game in Brooklyn

Published December 21, 2012 9:26 am

NBA • Brooklyn native thrilled that the league has come to his old neighborhood.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jamaal Tinsley has played scores of games in New York and New Jersey during his 10-year NBA career.

He has never played as close to home as he will Tuesday night, however, when the Jazz make their first-ever trip to Brooklyn and play the transplanted Nets.

Tinsley was born in Brooklyn, grew up "10 minutes" from the new Barclays Center and became a playground legend in New York City.

Playing in his old neighborhood again "will be fun," Tinsley said. "It's amazing they got an arena. It's exciting for everybody there. [The Nets] bring in a new look on Brooklyn."

Tinsley turns 35 in February.

Since his rookie season in 2001-02, he has played 492 regular-season and 41 playoff games. But the return to Brooklyn will be special.

"For me personally, for my friends and family, they will get an opportunity to see me play," he said. "They have over the years, but I'm getting old and having a team in Brooklyn — playing against the Brooklyn Nets — is amazing."

Asked if he ever thought about an NBA team would move into the neighborhood, Tinsley laughed.

"Not at all," he said. "I never thought it would happen. But nowadays anything is possible."

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin also looks forward to visiting the Barclays Center and playing the Nets.

"I have to keep catching myself to keep from saying 'New Jersey Nets,'" he said. "Luckily I haven't said it yet. ...

"It will be different. It's a great building, from what I hear. It's an exciting place. The fans are excited about it. It's like [playing] an expansion team, except they aren't an expansion team."

Corbin hopes his players aren't caught up in the hoopla of playing in Brooklyn against former Jazz All-Star Deron Williams.

"We have to go compete," said Corbin, whose team has lost two straight. "We can't get caught up in the surroundings. We have to get caught up in the game."

Jazz fans know Williams' story.

Longtime coach Jerry Sloan resigned midway through the 2011-12 season and, two weeks later, Williams was traded to New Jersey when the Jazz could not get a long-term commitment from the pending free agent.

In the deal, Utah acquired Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, a first-round draft pick that turned out to be Enes Kanter, another future first-rounder and $3 million.

It will be "good to see [Williams]," Corbin told reporters at practice Monday morning, before the team flew to New York.

"He's a tremendous player. ... We have to make sure we pay attention to how he's going because he's capable of putting up big numbers for himself ... and getting his teammates involved."

Williams averages 17 points and 8.3 assists this season, but he's shooting only 38.8 percent from the field, including 29 percent on 3-pointers.

In fact, Williams has made over 50 percent of his field-goal attempts in only one of the Nets' first 23 games this season.

Still, Corbin knows Utah's defense must focus on him.

"He can break defenses down," Corbin said. "He can post up. He can score in the post. He can make passes to other guys out of it. As he goes, they go. And he's a tremendous competitor. He's going to be ready to go against us." —

Jazz vs. Nets

P At the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Tipoff • 5:30 p.m. MST

TV • ROOT Sports

Radio • 1280 AM, 1600 AM, 97.5 FM

Records • Jazz 13-12, Nets 13-10

Season series • First game

Last meeting • Jazz, 105-84 (March 26, 2012)

About the Jazz • They have averaged 85 points in their last two games — losses to Phoenix and Memphis. ... They are 4-10 on the road and haven't beaten an opponent with a winning record. ... C Enes Kanter is the only rotation regular shooting over 49 percent (.550).

About the Nets • They have lost six of their last eight games. ... They have lost four of their five at home. ... C Brook Lopez is their leading scorer (17.9) and rebounder (6.8). ... Lopez will play in his third game after missing seven straight because of a sprained foot.