Blazers

Hood Propels Blazers In 4OT Classic

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Rodney Hood, X-Factor

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s combined 118 minutes, 69 points, and 12 assists were an excellent backdrop for the NBA Playoffs’ ultimate X factor, as Rodney Hood showed out in the 4OT classic. Not only did he hit the game-sealing shot, but he has also anchored one of the most intriguing benches of the remaining teams.

A year ago the guy was relegated to the end of the bench in Cleveland, stepping on the court with meager results. He’s now seeing an extended role with much more leniency.

Nothing is more evident than Coach Stotts calling his name in the fourth overtime over Moe Harkless. According to Coach Stotts, Harkless started to cramp after 45 minutes of play. The game plan was to hunt out mismatches on the offensive end, and that precisely what Hood did. After abusing Murray on two straight possessions, in the post and off the dribble, he earned the Blazers’ lead.

This postseason Hood is averaging 8.4 points a game on .431/.360/.824 shooting splits. In this series, he’s averaging 17 points on .552/.538/.800 in a shade under 23 minutes a game. He’s erupting as the premier bench scorer in the second round of the playoffs.

Hood skipped off the bench and recorded seven of the last nine points Portland scored. He’s not just a scoring option; he’s a much-improved defender as well. In years past, his defensive rating has been as high as 115, but it has dropped to 98.6 this season. Just last game, he scrapped his way to three blocks.

Unheralded Blazers Hero

He’s not a stat sheet stuffer with just seven rebounds and two assists through three games, but he’s a walking bucket in isolation. He fits so well in his role with the Blazers because he can create his offense. Few teams can wheel out three or more guys that can create scoring opportunities for themselves when the attack breaks down. Hood is one of four Blazers who can.

Rodney Hood had his coming out party years ago in Utah– tonight was a reminder of what he can do. Thanks to his shot making ability, Portland leads the series 2-1 and is on the verge of their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2000.

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