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Jazz get Rodney Hood back for Memphis

Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) works against New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) works against New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman, AP

MEMPHIS — In the moments following the Jazz’s 104-94 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, Trey Burke impressively turned a compliment about how he’s handled adversity this season into a comment about how his team needs to stick together.

It’s going to be tough, but Utah, which has lost four straight and seven of nine games, still has time to turn things around and make a playoff push.

“That’s what we have teammates for. It’s not only me that goes through tough situations. We all do,” Burke said. “Right now, losing four straight collectively as a team we all have to pick each other up. We know that it’s still a way to get to the playoffs. Obviously that’s our goal. We just have to take it one game at a time and get ready for Memphis.”

The good news for a team that hasn’t had much of that the last couple of weeks is that shooting guard Rodney Hood will be available to play against the Grizzlies. That was in question after Hood left Wednesday’s game at Toronto with a minor head injury due to a collision with Raptors big man Bismack Biyombo.

“I’d like to say it impacted it (the game),” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Obviously, he’s an important guy.”

The Jazz offense, in particular, is less robust without Hood. Hayward scored 26 against the Raptors and Derrick Favors chipped in with 15, but the team was limited. It took a strong-fourth quarter showing by Trey Burke (11 points) to help ignite a short-lived rally.

“Our margin for error is not real large,” Snyder admitted. “Losing Rodney and making a couple of mistakes — for us, we’ve got to be very, I won’t say perfect, but very good to overcome some of those things.”

The Jazz face a Memphis team that many figured would slip after starting center Marc Gasol was lost for the season with a foot injury. Instead, the Grizzlies have won six of eight games.

Utah, which is a game and a half behind No. 8 Houston, has beaten Memphis in both games this season. It certainly helped that the Grizzlies were held to an average of 83 points and that the games were both at Vivint Arena.

The Jazz (28-32) haven’t swept Memphis (36-24) since the 2008-09 season. A win would also help Utah avoid its first five-game losing streak since dropping nine in a row near the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

“We know where we want to go, but at the same time we are trying to take it one game at a time,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said when asked about the playoffs. “We are still far away, still have a lot of games to play, so I don’t think we focus on that too much. We know that we can’t lose too many games, but we just focus on the next game.”

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