SALT LAKE CITY — The Big Three grabbed a lot of attention for the come-from-behind win in Portland on Monday night, but a backup point guard was earning praise from coaches at practice Tuesday morning.
Jamaal Tinsley's performance after Devin Harris left the game midway through the second quarter with a sprained left ankle was key to the team's turnaround.
"Jamaal has done a great job for us," said Corbin. "He came in last night and played some great minutes for us, and actually, I think won the game for us with the steal at the end, ran the clock a little bit and then the pass to Paul (Millsap) under the basket. I think that's the game. … I think that was the play of the game for us."
That play came with 26.9 seconds left in the game. Tinsley stole the ball from Portland guard Raymond Felton and then found Millsap under the basket for a dunk and a three-point lead.
Corbin praised Tinsley's performance, which was on par with what the veteran point guard has provided the team all season.
"He's been that way all year," said Corbin. "Whatever you ask him to do, he's done it. He comes into practice every day and works hard to stay ready. It shows. He's been a really great asset for us to have."
Devin Harris did not practice Tuesday and will be a game-time decision Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.
"He was sore last night," said Corbin.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: The Jazz picked the perfect time to be on the winning end of one of those spectacular comebacks. Now Corbin hopes they can continue their winning ways — especially against the Suns, who sit in 10th place behind the 9th-place Jazz.
"It's really critical because this is what you're going to need coming down the stretch," said Corbin. "Everybody is a little tired physically and beat up, so you know, you have to make sure you stay in there."
No one wanted to trail by double digits, but Corbin was proud of how the team handled both the come-back and the run made by the Blazers late in the game.
"The guys got down early but they hung in there and continued to fight and give (themselves) a chance," said Corbin. "And then when we needed big plays, we buckled down on defense and we were able to get the plays."
A PLAYOFF STATE OF MIND: While a lot of media pundits are suggesting the Jazz have overachieved this season, the team couldn't disagree more.
"Some folks think we've over-achieved," said Corbin with a slight smile. "That's their opinion. We want to come out and compete every night we step on the floor. I tell the guys, 'You've got to think that you belong and know that you belong, and you've got to work to show that you belong.' Whatever happens after that, happens."
Both Jefferson and Millsap bristled at the suggestion that this season might have exceeded anyone's expectations.
"To me, I think we're still underachieving," said Millsap. "If you look back at all the games that we could have won, should have won, we're supposed to be higher than we are now. But you know, we'll take it this way. It's the hard way obviously, but hopefully we make the playoffs."
For Corbin, it's unimportant what the rest of the world believes the team is capable of achieving if the team sees the post-season as a possibility.2 comments on this story
"It's extremely that we're in the playoff race," Corbin said. "The confidence in the team going forward is going to be huge because you have to believe that you deserve to be in the playoffs and you have to play that way. We play well enough to be in the playoffs, and we want to give ourselves every opportunity to get there by working hard."
DIFFICULT MATCH-UP: The Suns provide a difficult match-up for the Jazz because point guard Steve Nash is so good at finding the open man.
"The way they can space the floor," said Corbin of what causes the Jazz problems. "We've got to make sure we keep Nash out of the pain. We've got to also make sure we get back to the 3-point shooters, which is what they did to us down in Phoenix."