Utah Jazz: Jamaal Tinsley adapting to starting role
Jazz • Veteran point guard valued for creating open looks.
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Jamaal Tinsley — one of the best dribblers in New York City history — drove hard at Washington guard A.J. Price, a look of intimidation on his face.

Utah's veteran point guard hit him with three consecutive crossovers, one of which sent Price stumbling, and threw in a floater to the delight of the EnergySolutions Arena crowd.

In the next quarter, Tinsley was trapped on a pick-and-roll. No issues there, as he escaped a certain turnover by throwing the ball through Trevor Booker's legs, ending up in a basket and a lot of gasps from the 18,158 in attendance.

"He was on his New York stuff tonight," Price, also a New York native, said shaking his head after the Jazz defeated Washington 92-88 on Wednesday night. "He was on his playground tonight."

The headlines will center around Utah's win over the Wizards, a blowout in the making that turned uncomfortably close in the final minutes.

But Tinsley's performance and the command he's starting to attain as the regular Jazz starting point guard is swiftly becoming a story.

"I'm just trying to stay aggressive," Tinsley said. "I came down on the fast break on that play, saw A.J. and hit him with a few moves. I know him from back home. We play against each other a lot during the summers."

Tinsley scored 11 points, handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds. But he pushed the ball in transition for Utah and created open looks for teammates with his creativity off the dribble. Known as one of the must-see guys when he plays in the Rucker Park league for his ability to break defenders down, he did so several times against Washington.

Tinsley was quick to point out that he had five turnovers. He also lamented missing all but one of his 3-point attempts. But he's clearly becoming comfortable at running the team full time in place of the injured Mo Williams.

And the Jazz are starting to rally around him.

"He's a veteran guy, and he plays hard," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He's smart, and he tries to make the right plays to get us going. He's a pass-first guy, and he does a great job at running the floor and getting guys the ball."

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib