Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday December 27th, 8:30 p.m.
TV: TNT; Radio: 1320-AM
LOS ANGELES — Tyrone Corbin will start five players against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.
The Jazz coach even knows who will be in the lineup at tipoff time.
So (drum roll) who are the season-opening starters?
On Monday, Corbin only revealed that his big reveal will happen today "before the game." He smiled but wouldn't offer up the eight non-starters, either.
Maybe this morning. Maybe this afternoon. Perhaps not until the Jazz officially have to turn in their starting list to game officials an hour before playing Metta World Peace & Co.
Players weren't about to tip their hand, either — if they even knew.
The Jazz's starting five from their preseason finale would be a good place to begin the guessing game.
That group included: Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson.
It is possible C.J. Miles could switch spots with Hayward, and 2010-11 starting power forward Paul Millsap is healthy again. But Corbin wants to mix veterans with younger players, so that could make Millsap's experience off the bench more likely — and potentially more valuable for Utah. Same for Miles.
"We had a lot of guys we considered to start that in some cases deserve to start," Corbin said. "But because of where we are, we decided to go a different way to give ourselves a chance to match up different levels of experience. It's a good place to be right now with this young team."
Corbin hasn't publicly announced a team captain, either. Recently, he even indicated three players could share the leadership role.
SMART ANSWER: With contenders scattered from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles, Corbin realizes the Western Conference is stacked. But the second-year coach didn't hesitate to answer when asked to pick a favorite out West.
Corbin chuckled, and he acknowledged the conference is "going to be tough." But he won't discount his team's playoff potential.
"We want to compete every night we step on the floor," he said. "If we lay it out there every night we play, we feel good about our chances."
IMPORTANT STUFF:Devin Harris chopped off his chops, and Gordon Hayward said he'll shave the fuzz off his face before tonight. "I've just been lazy," he said, grinning. "But it'll be gone." ... Jeremy Evans still gets asked about his dazzling dunk/offensive foul over Gerald Wallace from Wednesday's preseason game. So, has he rewatched it on YouTube? "I went back a few times," he said. "Quite a few." ... Josh Howard got some much-needed rest Sunday. The recent Utah resident also smiled talking about eating Christmas dinner at Harris' house.
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