Having played 16 season in the NBA, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin a little something about pros and pretenders in The Association.
And Jamaal Tinsley is a pro.
“He’s a true pro, man,” Corbin said. “He’s always ready, time and time again when we’ve needed him to step up big for us.”
Tinsley, 34, played extended minutes Friday night after starting point guard Mo Williams went down with a sprained right ankle. He wound up playing 30 minutes while coming up with a key steal and a critical assist in the final seconds, helping the Jazz to a 104-102 win over Sacramento at EnergySolutions Arena.
“He demonstrated again tonight, he is who he is,” Corbin said. “He’s ready to play regardless of what’s going on. Whatever minutes he gets, he’s going to be ready to play those minutes.”
After the game, Mo Williams wore a walking boot on his right foot. He said he planned to ice the sprain ankle all night in hopes of being able to play when the Jazz visit the Kings in Sacramento, Calif.
Tinsley will be ready.
“I can’t control who they put in front of me or how many minutes I play, but I always can control how I go out there, play hard and compete. My job is, when they call me, be ready.”
Tinsley shot 0-for-3 from the field but two free throws in the final minutes to give the Jazz a 100-99 lead. More impressively, he recorded 12 assists, six rebounds, two steals and only one turnover.
He stripped Sacramento point guard Aaron Brooks with 12 seconds left, helping to set up the eventual game-winner from Gordon Hayward.
“I’m still an old man, I still can get out there and play (defense),” he said.
At least on Friday, age an experience topped youth and athleticism.