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Rodney Hood, in rare starting role, powers Utah Jazz to first win back home after long road trip

From NBA media reports

Six consecutive road games can sap the life from an NBA team. That’s how the Utah Jazz looked late in their game against San Antonio Thursday – that notorious first game back after a lengthy trip that trips up so many – until Rodney Hood found just enough reserve.

Hood, who has started just one of his last 13 appearances, was in the starting lineup again for injured star rookie Donovan Mitchell. He wound up with his biggest scoring night, 29 points, in more than a month and triggered Utah’s strong 18-8 finish to seal a game in which the Spurs got as close as 82-81. Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune filed this as part of his report:

“I think tonight he knew in the fourth that he was going to have to step up and provide us some offense,” coach Quin Snyder said. “Rodney’s capable of doing that. He’s an explosive offensive player. I think he knew we needed that tonight and he responded.”

There were also strong performances from other Jazzmen, such as Derrick Favors, who scratched out 14 points and nine rebounds while still sporting a bandage over his left eye. Despite another turnover-plagued night, Ricky Rubio added a double-double: 11 points and 11 rebounds while occasionally flashing the fastbreak potential that has been uneven in his Jazz tenure

It was Utah’s first win without Mitchell, who has quickly become one of the team’s most important players since he was drafted.

In the two weeks since the Jazz were last featured on national television at home, they had seen their starting center and rookie phenom sidelined with injuries and lost seven of eight games in the midst of an unforgiving schedule. But maybe all they needed was some home cooking

Before the fourth quarter began, the Jazz Bear perched himself above team cheerleaders and waved an oversized sign: “THIS IS OUR HOUSE.” The Jazz seemed to take that to heart.

That’s when the adrenaline kicked in, apparently. That’s how Hood saw it anyway: “I think that’s all it was: energy,” the fourth-year wing from Duke said. “We was all real tired before the game coming off a long road trip. But we came out with a lot of energy, and I think that was the key to the game.”

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