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Hard work in offseason paying off for Utah Jazz's Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio was traded to the Utah Jazz early in the summer in hopes that his addition would help keep Gordon Hayward from leaving in free agency. Ultimately, Hayward did end up leaving, but Rubio took it upon himself to study up early and often on coach Quin Snyder’s offense.

* Recap: Jazz 112, Blazers 103

The Jazz have reaped the benefits of a breakout offensive season from Rubio, who is averaging career highs in points (17.5 per game), field goal percentage (43.7) and 3-point percentage (37.2). His scoring touch was on display in last night’s win against the Portland Trail Blazers and, as Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News reports, Rubio is feeling comfortable in Utah:

But in each of the Jazz’s last three games, Rubio has eclipsed the 20-point mark, getting to a team-high 30 in Utah’s 112-103 overtime victory against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night at Vivint Arena.

More important than the total number of points, it was the fact that he scored 10 in overtime and 11 in the extra period that carried the Jazz to the win.

“It was five minutes left,” he said of his overtime performance. “It’s a game that we’re going to remember at the end of the season because it’s a team we’re going to play for spots in the playoffs. We had to win, especially at home. I felt comfortable. I was trying to do what was working for us. Sometimes it was my shot, sometimes it was other guys getting open. It felt good.”

“I’m playing with confidence, and when you have confidence, you’re going to take advantage of that,” he said.

“When you’re investing that much in something, you just play,” Snyder said. “It gives you confidence. That’s what we’ve tried to instill in him, is that confidence. He hasn’t abused that in any way.”

It’s thanks to Rubio working hard that Snyder has developed confidence in his point guard, and he challenged him after the game to continue that work.

“I guess it’s the faith concept,” Snyder said. “We have faith in him. I have faith in him, and I’ve had that from day one. He’s earned that not with his made 3s, but just with the way he’s worked. I don’t care how many 3s he hits. He’s got to keep working and he’s got to keep getting better.”

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