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SALT LAKE CITY - The Jazz have lost Raja Bell, Josh Howard, Earl Watson and C.J. Miles for the time being, so coach Tyrone Corbin had to go to the lab and create some new lineups for the playoff push.
The big news entering the second game in the home-and-home with the Spurs was Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker taking the night off from the West-leading squad. The Jazz answered with a 91-84 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive thanks in no small part to some creative lineups due to the injuries.
"As long as we have bodies we're going to have lineup changes," Corbin said. "I feel great about the guys we have in uniform. A couple times it might be a little whacky for them but we got to do what we got to do."
The Jazz used their 13th different starting lineup after Miles' MRI revealed a strained left calf and DeMarre Carroll was placed into the starting lineup. With a lack of help at the small forward position Paul Millsap and Jeremy Evans got time on the wing.
"We played some weird rotations tonight where we had three bigs at one time," said Devin Harris, who sparked the teams victory with eleven straight points for the Jazz in the fourth and a game-high 25 points. "With a lot of guys banged up we are going to play a lot of unorthodox rotations, but with this team we can figure it out."
Millsap played around 17 minutes at small forward including all but 43 seconds of the fourth quarter with Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors playing down low. He ended the night with 18 points and 10 rebounds and a key steal with 30 seconds left to ice the game.
"Paul can move his feet with three men for the most part on the perimeter," Corbin said.
Evans got up over 17 minutes of playing time before he sprained his ankle. He went out with two minutes left in the third and would have threatened his season and career- high in minutes, 22 and 23 respectively. He had been averaging six minutes per game this season.
"That's the worst part about all of it," Evans said. "You get in the game and all the sudden you sprain your ankle the first time you get some real minutes. It just hurts."
Evans spent most of his playing time guarding Stephen Jackson, and held him to five points. He added three blocked shots and three rebounds. He said Corbin talked to him about being ready to play small forward.
You get in the game and all the sudden you sprain your ankle the first time you get some real minutes. It just hurts.
"They always talk to you about playing the three and four," Evans said. "Always be prepared to help out at the three position. Here I always play the four, but I theoretically play the three cause I feel that's where I should naturally be. It's just the way I jump they naturally put me in the post."
According to Corbin, another positive of Millsap playing outside is Favors getting more time on the court. He ended the night with 31 minutes, which is 10 over his average.
The Jazz added D- League all-star Blake Ahearn to add shooting and depth with the recent news of Earl Watson's torn meniscus in his right knee. Until he gets up to speed other players will need to be able and willing to play other positions.