Utah Jazz: DeMarre Carroll will start in place of Marvin Williams tonight at Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY — One Williams is in. One Williams is out.
Actually, make that one Williams and one Carroll that's in.
The Utah Jazz will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and once again they'll have an altered starting lineup.
Point guard Mo Williams will play for the first time in a week after missing action with a sprained right forefoot. Marvin Williams has been ruled out for tonight and is doubtful for Saturday's game in Houston because of concussion symptoms.
Williams crashed to the floor and smacked his head during the third quarter of the Jazz's game in New Orleans Wednesday.
With the Jazz's regular starting small forward out, DeMarre Carroll will be charged with the task of beginning the game against Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.
Coach Tyrone Corbin likes the production Gordon Hayward has had with his revised reserve role, so he wanted to keep the third-year swingman in that spot while giving Carroll a chance with the starters.
Both guys will get time against Durant, who's averaging 26.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
"It's going to be a few different guys," Corbin said. "He's a tremendous player, and you're going to have to pay a lot of attention to him. We all will."
Some short shots from shootaround:
Marvin Williams is in the process of taking a series of tests the NBA requires for players with concussion symptoms. It was determined that he wouldn’t be able to play tonight after his second concussion protocol exam.
"He's getting better," Corbin said. "He still has a headache though."
Jazz head trainer Gary Briggs explained that the NBA's stringent concussion testing includes:
A two-page form of questions to be asked by a doctor; the player must be headache-free for at least two days; 15-minute stationary bike test; checkups to make sure headaches don't recur; an analysis of the severity of symptoms when he originally fell or got hit.
Between Nov. 5-14, Carroll didn't get put into five games due to coach's decision, but he's played very well since being put back into action, averaging 8.2 points and providing oodles of energy in six ensuing games.
This is proof to Carroll, who helped Utah as a fill-in starter during last season's playoff push, that he's restored Corbin's confidence in him.
"That comes from trust and building that confidence," Carroll said. "I feel like that's what I did. When I got my opportunity, I took advantage of it."
And the 6-8 player's opportunity tonight against the athletic 6-9 Durant?
"He's another player, another great player," Carroll said. "It's just an opportunity for me to come in and help my team and do what I do best — play defense."
Carroll elaborated on what it's like to guard Durant.
"When you've got a player like that, he can do everything. He can shoot. He can dribble. He can dunk. He's athletic," Carroll said. "The biggest thing is you just can't key in on one thing. You have to be mentally into the game, and physically you've got to try to take him out of what he like to do."
Mo Williams said he's not 100 percent, but he's raring to go tonight. He missed the past three games and hasn't been on the court since the first half of last Friday's game against Sacramento.
"It's been terrible. I hate missing games, watching. I hate watching," Williams said. "It's not a hundred (percent), but it's good enough to go out and play."
Williams said the time off has been beneficial to his injured right thumb. He also said his right adductor (groin) is "not a problem anymore."
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