SAN ANTONIO — This might be Tyrone Corbin's first NBA playoff rodeo, but the first-time playoff coach is showing how much he values experience in the postseason.
Despite the Jazz's recent success — winning five straight to get into the playoffs — Corbin is making a change to his starting lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference first round against San Antonio.
Veteran Josh Howard will be among the first five on the AT&T Center court at tipoff time this morning (11 a.m. MT, ESPN), replacing midseason pick-up DeMarre Carroll at the small forward spot. The Jazz's other starters include Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Corbin liked what he saw from Howard after he played in two games and participated in a couple of practices following his month absence after having a scope surgery on his left knee.
"I just thought it would be the best thing to give us a chance in the beginning of the ballgame," Corbin said prior to his postseason coaching debut.
The move was a surprise for Howard, who scored 12 points in Utah's season-finale after returning in the Utah's playoff-clinching win over Phoenix on Tuesday. Prior to that, Howard hadn't played since March 18, missing 19 games.
Howard started in 15 straight games prior to his surgery.
"I really wasn't expecting that," Howard said of starting Game 1. "But I 'm here for my teammates and to help us get as far as we can in the playoffs."
Carroll, picked up in February after being waived by Denver, started the final nine games of the regular season for the Jazz because of injuries. Utah went 7-2 in that stretch.
"I've just got to keep being a true professional and handle my business whenever I get out there," Carroll said. "It's not like I'm only playing for the Utah Jazz. I'm auditioning for the whole league. My whole thing is every time I step on the floor, do what I do. You can't get down."
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