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Off-Day Tweets And Tiger Suits: The Downbeat #1817

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It's a quiet day in Jazzland. Thank goodness for Twitter.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The month of December was so busy for Jazz fans that having two straight days off feels...weird. It's like when you had to stand in front of your class in high school because you were doing a group presentation but it wasn't your turn to talk so you just stood there awkwardly thinking WHAT DO I DO WITH MY ARMS WHY IS THAT GIRL LOOKING AT ME DO I HAVE SOMETHING ON MY FACE WAIT IS IT MY TURN NOW

Maybe that was just me.

Anyway, it's been quiet on the Jazz front for a day or two, is the point. So I've got a couple articles, a couple tweets, and some GIFs, because I love you all. (Especially YOU.)

The world is so much nicer when Rudy Gobert is playing basketball, isn't it?

CBS' Matt Moore wrote about how much the Stifle Tower means to this Jazz team, even before his return led to two wins:

Utah is 7-11 since Gobert went down, and most alarmingly, they have a 107.0 defensive mark in points allowed per 100 possessions in that time. With Gobert on the floor this season they are six points better, and that's with a rough schedule.

That was kind of the secret deal with the Jazz before the Gobert injury. Despite Dante Exum's absence, they were 8-8 and that included a rough stretch on an East Coast road trip. Gobert changes a lot of the Jazz's identity because of their ability to grind games out defensively. They've also picked it up offensively to sustain and not go in a complete hole during this stretch.

It's not to say there aren't problems, but Gobert changes a lot of the dynamics. Trevor Booker and Derrick Favors' on-court net ratings went from positives to huge negatives with Gobert out. It's not just defensively, either. It allows the Jazz to find more mismatches instead of hunting for ones they can just "live with." Gobert's raw size and ability to finish on the lob changes a lot of where the offensive threats exist, which impacts spacing.

We were able to see Rudy's impact right away, even in limited minutes. He may not yet be the Jazz's "best" player (although that's debatable), but it's probably safe to say he's the Jazz's more important one.

And yet, the team did well enough without him to maintain its hold on a playoff spot in the West. It's hard to see the Jazz relinquishing that hold as Rudy and others return to full strength.

Rodney Hood's resurgence has been a big part of the Jazz's performance sans Gobert, and it was a relief to everyone, Rodney not least, that his most recent injury wasn't serious:

As he was being helped back to the locker room last week, trainers flanking him and propping him up, a wave of fear overtook Rodney Hood.

"I was thinking worst-case scenario," the Utah Jazz shooting guard said.

But just a few days — and only one missed game — after landing awkwardly and rolling his right ankle, Hood was back in the starting lineup against the Lakers on Sunday. He played 32 minutes, the second most of any Jazzman, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.


"He's a fighter and I love that about him," forward Gordon Hayward said of Hood. "Obviously he still probably isn't 100 percent, and it's still hurting him. But for him to play like that says a lot about who he is as a person."

I'm not sure I could've handled it if another Jazz player got hurt for an extended period of time. I'll always wonder what this season could have been without Dante Exum's injury -- it's hard to remember what he even looks like on the court, even though we know his condition is improving. Thank goodness it seems like the team's health is trending in the right direction.

No new FanPosts this week. Instead, please enjoy this clever squirrel:

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The NCAA football national championship game was last night, and at least one Jazzman had a rooting interest:

Hijinks ensued:

(Alabama beat Booker's Clemson Tigers, by the way. So no tiger suits. Probably.)

Here's an excellent piece from the Jazz production folks on pregame rituals. Share your own good-luck hoodoo in the comments.