Utah Jazz notebook: Divvying up playing time a nice problem
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — What a difference a couple of days made for the Utah Jazz.
On Thursday night in Oakland, the Jazz were missing three players — all guards — and lost by 18 to the 7-13 Golden State Warriors.
On Saturday night, all three guards, Raja Bell, Devin Harris and Earl Watson, were back in the lineup as the Jazz defeated the 14-9 Los Angeles Lakers.
One night, Jamaal Tinsley was dishing out 13 assists in a starting role and rookie Alec Burks was playing a lot of minutes as his backup, and the next night, neither of them left the bench.
"It was just the rotation The guys that were in there were going good.," said coach Tyrone Corbin of not playing Tinsley and Burks. "I'd love to find minutes for (Tinsley and Burks), but I want them to be quality minutes and not just throw them in there for a short amount of time. It was unfortunate I couldn't find a way to get them in the game."
Corbin said it's hard getting playing time for all 13 players.
"I'm excited about all 13 guys on this team and I feel good about putting anyone in the game," Corbin said. "Finding quality minutes for guys is my problem, but that's a great problem to have, because I feel good about the way all of them are playing."
NO CHANGE AT POINT: Harris has been struggling all season and has clearly been outplayed by Watson lately and even by Tinsley, who became the first Jazz player to get double-digit assists this year Friday at Golden State. In Saturday night's win, Harris managed just one point on 0-for-6 from the field with tree assists, while Watson had eight points and 11 assists.
However, Corbin has no plans to demote Harris from the starting lineup when asked about it Sunday.
"I have confidence in everybody on this team," he said. "Some nights the matchups or rotations will dictate who will go in and who will stay in more. Last night I didn't want to take a chance on (Harris) getting reinjured, and Earl was playing really well."
GARDEN PARTY: It only happens once a year for the Jazz, and with the condensed schedule, it almost didn't happen this year. But Monday night, the Jazz are playing in one of the most revered sports venues in the country, Madison Square Garden when they take on the New York Knicks.
Corbin played there dozens of times in his career, but it's still a special place to him.
"The buzz about Madison Square Garden will always be there," he said. "It's such a historic place and so many Hall of Famers have played in the building. If you can't get excited about playing in Madison Square Garden."
JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz practiced Sunday morning at the Zions Bank Center and flew out to New York in the early afternoon, arriving shortly after the Super Bowl started . . . This marks just the second two-game road trip for the Jazz ,and like the first, will be two games in two nights. The first came at the start of the season when the Jazz played at Los Angeles and Denver on consecutive nights . . . The Jazz will not play the Knicks in Salt Lake this season . . . Tuesday's game at Indiana will be a return home for Tinsley, who played for the Pacers for seven seasons (2001-08) where he was the starting point guard most of the time.
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