OAKLAND, Calif. — Overnight, Jamaal Tinsley has gone from being a rarely used No. 3 point guard to a starter for the Utah Jazz.
Because of injuries to starter Devin Harris (strained left hamstring) and backup Earl Watson (sprained left ankle), Tinsley will get his first start with the Jazz when they take on Golden State tonight at Oracle Arena (8:30 MT tipoff, ROOT).
The Jazz will be very thin in the backcourt, seeing as usual starting shooting guard Raja Bell is also out with a strained right adductor.
Utah's starters will be Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, Josh Howard, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, the fifth different starting rotation this season.
"He's worked his tail off anytime he wasn't playing," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Tinsley during his pregame interview (prior to the Tinsley starting announcement). "I feel very good about putting him in the game. I know he will respond and be ready to go for us."
Tinsley has only played in nine games and for a total of 45 minutes this season. He averages 0.4 points and 0.9 assists.
But the ninth-year veteran has taken an active leadership role on the bench and has kept himself in tip-top shape, coming early and staying late to practices to get in running and shooting.
"It's my opportunity to be ready," Tinsley said. "I'm a basketball player. I'm a point guard. I know where the guys like the ball at. I know the offense. I'm pretty smart, so I think it's just me getting out there playing against other people."
Watson sprained his left ankle late in the third quarter of the Jazz's 107-105 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday night. He traveled to the Bay Area with the team after Wednesday's game but was given permission to seek a second opinion on a treatment plan for his sprained ankle.
Harris tweaked his hamstring will crashing into a cameraman underneath the basket against the Clippers. He was hampered by hamstring issues at the end of the 2010-11 season after joining the Jazz.
This will be Bell's third consecutive game he's missed due to a strained right adductor.
Golden State will have standout guard Stephen Curry tonight after he missed the teams' last meeting here in Oakland, an 88-87 Jazz victory on Jan. 7.
This is a late tipoff (8:30 MT) for the teams who are both coached by former Jazz players — Tyrone Corbin (Utah) and Mark Jackson (Golden State).