OAKLAND, Calif. — Because of injuries, the Utah Jazz traveled without three players for their game tonight at Golden State.
One guy couldn't have been happier that he was able to make the trip, however.
Combo guard Jerel McNeal was signed by the Jazz for the remainder of the season.
The former Marquette standout and two-time D-League All-Star hasn't been given any playing time, but he impressed Jazz brass during a 10-day contract.
"I'm happy for him. First of all, he's a good guy. He's a talented young fella who has worked his way to have an opportunity to take a chance on him with the NBA team, and we're excited to have him," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He's done a good job in the D-League. He's been great since he's been here with us. We haven't had a chance to get him in the game yet, but we're excited to have an opportunity to have him around a little bit more."
McNeal was anxious after Friday's game not knowing his fate, but he was much more relieved by the time the Jazz practiced Saturday with him still on the squad.
"I've been around a great group of guys. The coaching staff has been great to me and they've really made me feel at home since I've been here," McNeal said. "I've just tried to do whatever I could to stick around."
McNeal hasn't had much practice time due to the Jazz's schedule, so he's done a lot of extra workouts with the coaching staff. He's trying to learn the system just in case he's needed to be called into action.
"The main thing is (Corbin) just told me he was familiar with the things that I do on the basketball court, which is just play hard, play good defense and offensively being aggressive, putting points up and also getting shots for other people," he said.
"Since I've been here, I haven't had a great opportunity to show that yet, but the most important thing is just to keep working. And that's one of the biggest things he told me is to come in and be myself and just continue to work as hard as I can and stay ready, so that's what I've been trying to do."
McNeal averaged 18.1 points and 5.5 assists in 44 games with the Bakersfield Jam before signing his short deal with the Jazz. This is his second NBA stint, having had a 10-day deal with New Orleans in 2011.
INJURY SITUATION: The Jazz will be short-handed against the Warriors.
Small forward Marvin Williams (right heel tendinitis) will be available to play after sitting out Friday's win against New Orleans. Likewise, backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley is considered probable after leaving that game against the Hornets with a bruised lower back.
However, the Jazz will be missing shooting guard Alec Burks (sprained left ankle), backup big man Enes Kanter (dislocated shoulder) and rookie guard Kevin Murphy (skin infection).
Those three didn't travel with the team to Oakland.
LATE-NIGHT VIEWING: Corbin couldn’t help but watch the end of the Lakers' close-call win over Memphis on Friday night following the Jazz's victory.
That win kept Los Angeles (40-36) a half-game ahead of the Jazz (40-37).
"Another close one, a close one," Corbin said with a laugh. "Here again, we watch what's going on, but we want to make sure we take care of our business and win our share of games and see where things fall.1 comment on this story
"We don't want to try and back into this thing," he added. "We want to work our way into it. And as great as it was for us to get a win, they got a win also, so we're still where we are."
The Lakers face the Clippers in a "road game" Sunday afternoon before the Jazz's night contest at Golden State.