Utah Jazz: Paul Millsap, Devin Harris to play tonight against Golden State
"Three words: Game. Time. Decision," Harris, who has a sprained ankle, said with a smile.
Paul Millsap, on the other hand, was not at the arena to give his three-word update. The Jazz's starting power forward did not participate in this morning's strategy session because of a hard-hitting stomach virus.
Hours later, the verbage has changed for both of them.
Their new three new words: They will play.
"It's great news to get two good guys back," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Harris missed Wednesday's 107-105 loss to Phoenix after spraining his left ankle in the Jazz's win at Portland on Monday.
Harris didn't feel limited by his ankle at Thursday's practice. The veteran playmaker said his ankle felt good but remains a bit sore.
"We need a win," said.
The Jazz (28-27) beat the Warriors (21-32) a few weeks ago in Utah, but a diminished Golden State squad that traded Monta Ellis and didn't have Stephen Curry forced an overtime before falling.
Despite accusations of tanking this season away so it can keep its top-seven protected pick otherwise headed to Utah Golden State actually comes into this contest as the hotter of the two teams.
The Warriors beat Minnesota on Wednesday, snapping a six-game losing streak. Utah has lost four of its last five games, including two straight setbacks at home.
Golden State's starters include three rookies: center Jeremy Tyler and guards Charles Jenkins and Klay Thompson. The Warriors will also begin with forwards David Lee and Dorell Wright.
The Jazz starters will be the new usual: Harris, Gordon Hayward, C.J. Miles, Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Corbin said it's possible he'll bring point guard Jamaal Tinsley off the bench first, depending on how the Warriors are defending Utah. With his offensive skillset, Tinsley is better suited to play against the possible zone defense than Earl Watson, Corbin said.
The Jazz are 1-1/2 games out of a playoff spot behind Houston and Denver, and this is about as close to a must-win game as there could be at this point in the season.
"We're holding on well," Jefferson said. "At the end of the day, there's 11 games to go and we're only a game and a half out. It looks pretty good. I still like our chances. We've got to stay together."
Corbin couldn't say enough about Millsap's commitment to the team. The power forward has only missed one game this season Feb. 29 with a severe heel bruise and had only been out 12 times in his previous five seasons.
"He hates missing," Corbin said. "He want to be there for his team. It says a lot about his character and who he is."
Millsap said he's feeling "better."
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