SALT LAKE CITY — Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and DeMarre Carroll were playing so well while helping Utah dig out of an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter Monday night, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin left them in for entire period.
Hayward and Burks stayed in for the entire five-minute overtime as well, while Carroll played all but 10 seconds of the extra session.
Whether or not that was the right move was a popular topic around Jazzland a day after Utah ran out of steam, losing 110-107 in overtime to the Boston Celtics.
Even Corbin wondered.
"They did a good job. You second-guess or you think about some things that you might like to do differently," Corbin said. "The guys responded well. We just didn't finish."
The Jazz coach explained that he goes by the feel of the game to determine whether or not players should be subbed in or out, and this time he opted to stay with three of the guys who were responsible for the rally that made a close finish possible.
It's a tricky balance trying to determine how long to let hot players go.
"It's got to be game by game, situation by situation. If guys are going good, you want to try to ride the wave as much as you can," Corbin said. "I thought that group was playing well, so I wanted to ride it a little longer."
Hayward had the hottest hand, scoring 26 points, but he missed a late open 3-pointer and was off on both shots in overtime. Carroll's defense on Paul Pierce was stellar for the most part, allowing him more time despite a productive offensive outing by Marvin Williams (15 points). Burks also had his moments, including the overtime-forcing difficult drive over Kevin Garnett with 20 seconds left.
If they were tired, none were about to tell their coach. Corbin didn't feel like the flow of the game allowed a good break to put new guys on the court.
"They all think they can play the whole 48 minutes, which is great," Corbin said. "But you try to find out what gives you the best chance to win."
Taking a moment away from the what-ifs, Corbin reiterated that the Celtics — particularly the clutch Pierce — deserved a lot of credit for playing clutch when it counted.
MILLSAP INJURY: Jazz power forward Paul Millsap limped for a while after tweaking his left ankle against the Celtics. He came back and played after getting it retaped.
Millsap didn't participate in Tuesday's practice because of the sprain. He is listed as a game-time decision tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.
SECOND-HALF STUMBLES: There was a theme in Saturday's loss to the Clippers and Monday's heartbreaking defeat to the Celtics.
The Jazz were lousy in the third quarter.
L.A. scored the first 14 points out of the halftime break and won the third quarter 36-20. Boston outscored Utah 32-19 in the third on Monday.
Corbin admitted the Jazz were "lackadaisical" in those pivotal periods.
"We've got to get better," he said. "Whatever it is we're doing at halftime and getting ready to go in that third quarter, we've got to change it and make sure we're ready to start the (second half)."