SALT LAKE CITY — For the second straight game, point guard Mo Williams will not be in the starting lineup for the Utah Jazz, as a severely sprained right thumb will sideline him for tonight's home game against the Golden State Warriors.
Jamaal Tinsley, who has started five games at point guard in Williams' absence this season — the Jazz went 4-1 in those five games without Williams — is again expected to be the starter in tonight's 7 p.m. match-up with the Warriors at EnergySolutions Arena.
Williams is Utah's fourth-leading scorer thus far this season, averaging 12.9 points per game, along with a team-leading 6.7 assists per game. It's possible the thumb injury may require surgery.
Tinsley averages 3.5 points and 4.9 assists per game, which is the second-best assists total on the team behind Williams. Tinsley had 11 points and four assists while starting in Williams' place in Utah's last game, a 97-93 road victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
"That's just the nature of the beast, you know," Tinsley said of stepping into the starting lineup. "Guys go down and other guys get opportunities to step up and play. We know Mo's our starting point guard. We (he and backup point guard Earl Watson) get an opportunity to play more minutes; you've just got to take advantage of it and just hold it down until he comes back.
"I'm in a different role right now. I'm being aggressive but making sure we get a good shot down every time, not turning the ball over and just make sure I run the offense.
"I've been around, so I pick my spots to be aggressive, knowing that I've got a lot of people on the first unit that score the ball and I just try to make their job easier," he said of how his role changes when he starts as opposed to coming in off the bench. "I've been a starter over my whole NBA career, so it's just an another opportunity for me. I'm a little bit older now, but I take care of my body and I'm all for it."
Two other times earlier this season, Tinsley scored in double figures when filling in as the starting point guard for the Jazz. He had 14 points and seven assists in a loss at Sacramento on Nov. 24 and followed that up with a season-high 15 points and six assists in a win over Denver on Nov. 26. Tinsley had a combined seven 3-pointers in those two games.
He also had a run of three double-digit assist games in November, handing out 14 on Nov. 10 against Phoenix, 11 against Houston on Nov. 19 and 12 against Sacramento on Nov. 23. In all, Tinsley has led the team in assists eight times this season.