SALT LAKE CITY -- Jamaal Tinsley doesn't need much, just an opportunity to give his teammates an opportunity.
The charitable point guard turned in an impressive effort Saturday, notching 14 assists on the way to helping the Jazz earn a 94-81 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
With starting point guard Mo Williams sitting out with a strained adductor, Tinsley stepped up and took control of Utah's offense. By halftime he'd already notched 10 assists and had the Jazz on their way to bouncing back from Friday's road loss at Denver.
Back inside EnergySolutions Arena, Tinsley and the Jazz looked like a different team. They raced out to a 16-point lead in the second quarter then withstood a couple of Phoenix rallies in the second half.
"I think about (taking more shots) sometimes, sometimes I should take shots," he said. "But as a true point guard I always look to pass first and try to get guys in the right position to make easy shots."
Center Al Jefferson scored 27 points to go along with 14 rebounds and teammates Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward contributed 18 points apiece to Pace the Jazz (3-4).
Each Jazz starter, expect for Tinsley, scored in double figures. The 34-year-old actually didn't score a point, going 0-for-3 from the field. But those 14 assists, coupled with only two turnovers, made him incredibly efficient and effective.
When Mo Williams wasn't able to go, coach Tyrone Corbin had no trouble turning the offense over to Tinsley.
"I just respect his professionalism," Corbin said. "All the time he's been here he's always been ready when we called on him. He's done everything we've asked him to do and I really appreciate it."
Starting small forward Marvin Williams said Tinsley approached him before the game and told him to be ready for some scoring opportunities.
Williams finished the game with 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting. He went 1-for-2 from behind the 3-point line.
"He told me before the game starter, just run with him," he said. "He definitely finds a way to get you a couple of easy ones, for sure."
Going into Saturday's game, Tinsley had been averaging just over 16 minutes a contest as Utah's primary backup point guard. He played 40 minutes against the Suns.
"He's a pro," Marvin Williams said. "Jamaal's been around a long time, but to not play major minutes these first six games and then Mo goes down. To step in and play the way he played, that's the true definition of a professional."
The Jazz led by as many as 18 in the third quarter but Phoenix rallied and cut the lead to five with 5:24 left in the game.
Jefferson scored six points in the final four minutes and also added a blocked shot.
The Suns (3-4) were led by Luis Scola's 21 points and Jared Dudley added 16.
Jazz 94, Suns 81
* BEST PLAY: Derrick Favors shows his athleticism after teammate Jamaal Tinsley grabs a defensive rebound and immediately fires a long outlet pass. Tinsley's pass isn't on target but it doesn't matter as Favors catches up to it, controls it then goes behind his back to slip past Phoenix forward Markieff Morris. It gives the Jazz a 22-11 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter.
* BEST LINE: Tinsley didn't score a point, going 0-3 from the field but notching 14 assists against just two turnovers.
* KEY STAT: The Jazz shot 59 percent from the field in the third quarter, enabling them to outscore the Suns 27-18 for the period. That productivity proved to be critical as the Suns made a late run in the fourth.
* SIDELINE MOMENT: During a first-half timeout, the Jazz pay tribute to a decorated military veteran in the crowd. Center Enes Kanter steps back from the huddle and joins the rest of the arena in applauding the serviceman.
* MILESTONE: Tinsley became the first Jazz player to record double-digit assists this season.
* INJURY REPORT: The Jazz played without point guard Mo Williams (straight right adductor) and Earl Watson (right knee rehab). ... The Suns were without Channing Frye (enlarged heart) and Jermaine O'Neal (personal).
* GETTING CLOSER: Before Saturday's game, coach Tyrone Corbin said Watson is getting closer to a return, noting the veteran point guard needs to pass a few physical tests from the training staff before being cleared. When he returns, Watson will have to compete for minutes with backup Tinsley.
"He's been practicing with us, so we have an idea now where he is and what he can do with this team," Corbin said. "Practice speed is one thing, when you get into game speed (it's more challenging). It'll be a gradual thing with him to get minutes and then get a few more minutes."
* ETC.: The last time Tinsley recorded 10 or more assists in a half was Nov. 21, 2007 when he was playing for the Indiana Pacers. ... The Jazz's 29 points in the first quarter was a season high for points in the opening quarter of play. ... The Jazz now have gone more than 86 minutes without trailing inside EnergySolutions Arena.
* UP NEXT: The Jazz hit the road this week, making stops in Toronto (Monday), Boston (Wednesday), Philadelphia (Friday) and Washington (Saturday). Their next home game is Nov. 19 vs. Houston.