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Jazz talk Christmas, Snyder returns to coach against Lakers

Utah head coach Quin Snyder speaks to a ref during a timeout of an NBA basketball game against Toronto in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. Toronto took down Utah with a final score of 104-98.
Utah head coach Quin Snyder speaks to a ref during a timeout of an NBA basketball game against Toronto in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. Toronto took down Utah with a final score of 104-98.
Nick Wagner, Nick Wagner

LOS ANGELES – With three days between their last game on Dec. 23 and Tuesday night’s game, Jazz players and coaches had time to be with their families over Christmas. Because it was difficult for players to go home for the holidays, many of the players had families come to them.

“We had some family come in before Christmas, but on Christmas it was just us, which was a pretty cool experience with the girls,” said Gordon Hayward, who has two young daughters. “It was good to spend some time with family and it was a white Christmas, we got some snow, so that was cool. It was a good time off.”

Rodney Hood said, “I had family come out to visit — my parents and my brother and his family, so it was good to spend time with them.”

Jazz coach Quin Snyder preferred to not talk much about his holiday celebration except to offer that he put a Big Wheel together for his 4-year-old.

SNYDER RETURNS TO STAPLES: The last time the Jazz played the Lakers in Los Angeles, just three weeks ago, was not a good time for Snyder.

He endured a 75-minute bus ride from Santa Monica to the Staples Center, feeling worse and worse, until he couldn’t suit up, so to speak, and had assistant coach Igor Kokosov take over head coaching duties while he stayed in the locker room with a high fever.

Snyder said not only was it the only time he missed a game in 20 years of coaching, but that he only missed one game as a player.

“I missed a game my sophomore year (at Duke) because of a bad back,” he said.

JAZZ NOTES: The Jazz have a pair of home games this week against Philadelphia Thursday and Phoenix Saturday, before embarking on a nine-day, five-game road trip back East, starting Monday at Brooklyn. … Dante Exum missed his third straight game because of knee tendinitis. … Derrick Favors, whose minutes have been limited since coming back from his knee injury, got his first start since mid-November.

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