SALT LAKE CITY — Who needs Mo Williams at point guard? For that matter, who needs Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson?
Not the Utah Jazz, apparently.
Alec Burks, left to rot on the bench for much of the season, played the point for the Jazz during the final quarter of their game against Dallas on Monday night. Given the opportunity, Burks helped the Jazz outscore the Mavericks by a dozen points down the stretch in a come-from-behind 100-94 victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
Burks scored 8 of his 13 points in the final quarter, including what was probably the shot of the game, and he also used his 6-foot-6 frame to shut down the Mavericks’ smaller point guards, Darren Collison and Rodrigue Beaubois, on the defensive end.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was thrilled with the second-year player from Colorado, who hadn’t even gotten on the floor in 15 of the team’s 35 games this season and played sparingly in most of the other ones.
“We got in a lull there and I was a little concerned the with the speed of Collison at the point and I thought Alec and Gordon (Hayward) did a good job staying between them and the basket and also gave us a punch on the offensive end,’’ he said.
Corbin said using Burks at the point wasn’t something entirely new and that the Jazz had experimented with it a lot in practice as well as in the exhibition season.
“It’s just a feel for how we’re going and what the other team is doing,’’ he said. “The toughest thing is putting the guy at a disadvantage on the other end and I thought Alec did a good job of staying between the point guard (and the basket).’’
As for Burks, he didn’t have much to say, period, about his best game of the season.
About his defense on the smaller Mavs’ point guards, he said his plan was to “just stay in front of them and don’t let them score — just contain them and I did that.’’
Burks didn’t have a great shooting night, going just 2 for 7 from the field (along with 8 of 9 from the line), but he came up with the biggest shot of the night to pull the Jazz even at 86 with 4:35 left
Al Jefferson just had his shot blocked in the lane by Elton Brand when Burks chased down the ball beyond the 3-point line on the right side. He glanced up and saw there were less than two seconds on the shot clock, and let fly with a 3-pointer that used every bit of the rim before falling as the crowd exploded.
“I had to shoot it — there was one second left,’’ he said. “You gotta shoot it and it went in.’’
As for playing point the rest of the season, or least as long as Williams is out over the next couple of months, Burks said that would be no problem.
“I can play point. I played point guard before I hit a growth spurt so it’s natural to me,’’ he said. "I just want to be on the court.’’
Corbin wouldn’t commit to keeping Burks at the point, but for him it’s nice to know he has that option to go with his two veteran point guards.
“We’ll see how it goes,’’ he said. “It worked out for us tonight and we’ll see where it goes from here on.’’
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company