Rodney Hood hurts knee as Utah Jazz pick up a bittersweet win over Magic

Rodney Hood hurts knee as Utah Jazz pick up a bittersweet win over Magic

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz’s game Saturday night against the Orlando Magic was bittersweet.

The sweet part: The Jazz won their third consecutive game, rallying to beat the Magic 114-107.

Not only did Utah overcome a career-game by Magic guard Elfrid Payton and survive a rough start in which it fell behind by 15 points and allowed 42 first-quarter points, but the Jazz also had a super strong showing by its starting five.

Rudy Gobert had a monstrous outing with 19 points and 19 rebounds; Gordon Hayward was his All-Staresque self with 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds; Derrick Favors looked like his old self with 17 points and six boards; George Hill added 14 points and seven assists; and Rodney Hood scored 14 with a key 3-pointer at the two-minute mark for the second straight night.

“This was a good win for us, I think, because of some of the circumstances. I feel like people were a little tired there tonight,” Hayward said. “(We had) an emotional win against Cleveland and a late, late TV game (Friday) as well. Just happy that we won, happy that we grinded that one out. It was a good win.”

The victory improved Utah’s record to 26-16, which puts them in the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings.

“I think we’re in a great place,” Favors said. “We got a good rhythm going offensively. Defensively, we’re good. We got a lot of tough games coming up, so hopefully we can keep it up.”

Now for the bitter part: Hood left the game with a knee injury with 1:44 remaining.

The injury, which happened as Hood drove to the basket on a fast break and stepped awkwardly, looked a lot worse than the initial diagnosis of a hyperextended right knee.

Hood was helped off the court by trainers and Jazz teammate Boris Diaw.

“They’re going to continue to evaluate (the knee), but hopefully it’s not serious. It’s serious enough he had to leave the game,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I don’t know when he’ll be back.”

The prognosis seemed to improve somewhat in the locker room.

“I know exactly how he’s feeling. If anybody do, I do,” said Jazz guard Alec Burks, who’s had his own share of knee issues over the past year. “I seen him walk, so that’s a good sign.”

Moments later, Hood walked to his locker with his right knee tightly wrapped. Because of the injury, he was not made available for a comment.

“It’s unfortunate for sure and unlucky. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery,” Hayward said. “He’s a big piece of what we do. It just sucks to see anybody go down, especially your teammates. I wish him the best and hopefully he comes back and he comes back real good.”

The injury-plagued Jazz, who’ve been healthy on the whole for about a week, had non-injury troubles just before Hood’s injury.

Utah trailed by five points after Payton, who scored a career-high 28 points, made a layup for a 102-97 Orlando lead with 3:54 remaining.

But the Jazz, who continue to look the part of a playoff team, finished the game strong after that point as they went on a 13-0 run.

Hayward hit three free throws after being fouled behind the 3-point line on an attempt and then Favors gave the Jazz a 103-102 lead with a power dunk and one foul shot.

Hood continued the hot streak with a 3-pointer before his night ended short with the injury, which happened without any contact by an Orlando player.

The Magic chose to put Jeff Withey on the line to shoot Hood’s free throws, and the backup big hit one of two for a 107-102 Utah lead.

Joe Ingles then clinched the victory with back-to-back 3-pointers after subbing in for Hood.

It helped the Jazz’s cause that they held Orlando to no more than 24 points in a quarter after the defensive debacle in the first quarter.

“We finally started guarding,” said Hayward, whose team plays in Phoenix on Monday. “We gave up 40-plus points in the first quarter and we had to lock down defensively. Once we did that, we started to get ourselves back into the game.”

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Published at Sun, 15 Jan 2017 06:05:00 +0000