Jazz's Hood not available for game against Suns (Jan 16, 2017)
The spotlight will be on the shooting guards Monday night when the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns meet at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz.
The Jazz flew into Phoenix on Sunday carrying a three-game winning streak that included a victory over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
But the third of the three home wins over a five-day stretch appears to have been a costly one, as shooting guard Rodney Hood suffered a hyperextended and bruised right knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 114-107 win over Orlando.
The injury at first looked serious, which had the Utah players in a somber mood after completing the 3-0 homestand.
But an MRI taken Sunday revealed no significant damage, allowing the Jazz franchise to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
"Man, I know the feeling," Jazz backup Alec Burks told reporters after Saturday's game.
Burks underwent knee surgery in the offseason and had three separate ankle procedures. He has returned to play six games, and had a season-best eight points Saturday in a season-high 15 minutes.
Having started 42 games in his career, Burks is a candidate to be in the starting lineup Monday in place of Hood, who has been ruled out.
The Jazz hope to have their fourth-leading scorer back in a week or two.
"I know exactly how he's feeling," Burks insisted. "If anybody does, I do."
If there ever were a good time for a team to experience an injury, the Jazz currently have that luxury. After an injury-marred first two months of the season, Utah finally had all hands on deck for the homestand.
Eleven different players have started at least three games this season, which gives coach Quin Snyder options.
Snyder would be wise to pick someone with defensive skills, because the matchup Monday should be a tough one. Suns shooting guard Devin Booker is coming off back-to-back, 39-point efforts during Phoenix's two-game trip to Mexico City.
The Suns split the games, beating San Antonio 108-105 on Saturday night.
"Devin Booker does not want to leave Mexico," Suns coach Earl Watson gushed after the win. "I'm excited for Devin. He's only 20 years old. We are very excited about everything that he's doing."
Actually, Booker's hot streak pre-dated the trip south of the border. He has averaged 31.0 points in his last five games, hitting 56 of his 102 shots (54.9 percent) and 17 of his 28 3-pointers (60.7 percent).
Alas, nothing has been easy for the Suns in recent matchups with the Jazz. Utah has beaten Phoenix six times in a row, and has held the Suns under 90 points in six of their last seven meetings.
The Jazz lead the league in defense, having allowed 94.8 points per game. They have already held a league-best 16 opponents to 90 points or fewer.
Phoenix was the designated home team in both Mexico City games. The Suns' last true home game also was encouraging, a tightly contested 120-116 loss to the Cavaliers.