Utah Jazz: Earl Watson to start at point guard; Corbin defends Marvin Williams
SALT LAKE CITY — Two days after admitting he was mulling a lineup change, Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin made one happen.
Point guard Earl Watson will replace Jamaal Tinsley in the starting lineup tonight when the Jazz host the Boston Celtics at EnergySolutions Arena.
"Hopefully with Earl in there, he should give us more pace pushing the ball down the floor," Corbin said. "We've got to find a way to get some easy baskets with that first group. Hopefully, this will be a way to get it."
Tinsley has been the Jazz's starting playmaker since Mo Williams went down with a thumb injury on Dec. 22 in Miami. The soon-to-be 33-year-old has averaged 4.8 points and 5.4 assists in 32 starts for the Jazz this season. Utah has gone 20-12 with Tinsley in the starting lineup.
"Jamaal's done a great job for us," Corbin said. "We really appreciate his efforts. He's a little banged up. We'll see tonight how much he'll play. We want to give him some time."
Williams still has discomfort in his surgically repaired right thumb, and the team still isn't sure when he'll return. His doctor told him his post-surgery rehab would take nine weeks, and it's been seven and a half weeks since he had the ligament-repairing procedure.
Corbin considered starting second-year guard Alec Burks, but opted against that.
"He's such a young guy and it's not his natural position," Corbin said. "I like to keep that second group together the way they're playing. We can share the ballhandling duties."
Corbin said Gordon Hayward, Randy Foye and Burks could get time running the offensive show along with Watson.
The Jazz coach also defended Marvin Williams being a starter. The small forward has only scored in double figures once in the past eight games and went scoreless in a win over Minnesota and in Saturday's blowout loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"He's missed some shots, but he's doing some other things to help us. His defense has been good. He still makes the right rotations and is taking the right shots," Corbin said about Marvin Williams. "The shots will fall. He's a little frustrated about it, and he should be, but I like the other things he do for us. He's working his tail off to get better."
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