SALT LAKE CITY — With the real season drawing closer by the day, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin has begun to change the way he uses his players. He’s using fewer of them and the ones he’s using are now playing the kind of minutes they’ll play once the NBA’s regular season gets underway later this month. “We’re going to that,” Corbin said before Saturday’s 99-91 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena.
“We still want to see some guys. Guys will play a few more minutes as we go forward,” he added. “We’re still not in the regular season so we’re still evaluating some things.”
Marvin Williams scored 18 points to lead the Jazz and third-year man Gordon Hayward had 13.
Point guard Mo Williams had 10 points and eight assists.
L.A.’s Matt Barnes led all scorers with 22 points.
Jazz center Al Jefferson finished with 10 points and five rebounds. He played 28 minutes, including 12 in the first quarter as the Jazz broke out to an early lead. Playing its sixth preseason game and second straight against the Clippers, Utah improved to 4-2 in the preseason.
The Jazz will open the regular season Oct. 31 at home vs. the Dallas Mavericks.
Jefferson, 27, is about to begin his ninth NBA season. He showed up to training camp in great shape following offseason workouts in Santa Barbara, Calif. and on Saturday said he feels strong and healthy.
He isn’t too worried about pacing himself for the upcoming season, although he knows Corbin has his best interest in mind. “I’m fine (playing) whatever coach wants me to play,” he said.
Corbin, who appeared in more than 1,000 NBA games as a player, understands the need to pace veterans for the long regular season. Of course he also understands it’s important for them build up a little momentum as the season approaches.
“We (want to) allow guys to feel that they’re in game-ready condition and (are) game-ready timing-wise,” he said.
The objective, he said, is to get players like Jefferson to where they feel they’re ready for the real season as the preseason winds down.
“So they don’t have to use the first few games of the season to feel comfortable about where they are with their body,” he said.
Jefferson said Corbin has been up-front about how he’ll be used in the preseason.
“Coach does well communicating (and) he let me know from the beginning the minutes he expects me to play,” he said. “He told me throughout the preseason my minutes are going to increase. He’s communicating well, that’s fine with me.”
The Jazz led the Clippers 54-46 at halftime and 80-65 at the end of three quarters.
With the game in hand, Corbin was able to squeeze in a few more minutes for his bench players. Guard Alec Burks played 17 minutes off the bench and scored 10 points.
• WARRIORS’ CURRY OUT AGAIN WITH RIGHT ANKLE INJURY: Stephen Curry is out with a sprained right ankle again before Golden State’s season has even begun.
The team said in a statement Saturday night that Warriors coach Mark Jackson plans to hold the point guard out of the final two preseason games Monday at the Los Angeles Clippers and Tuesday against Phoenix. Curry injured his surgically repaired ankle in Golden State’s 101-97 win at Portland on Friday night.
The fourth-year point guard is eligible for an extension with the team until Oct. 30 — the night before the season opener at Phoenix — or he will become a free agent next summer.