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Rodney Hood is much more than just one impressive game against the Los Angeles Lakers

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Researching his biggest scoring games taught me something vital about him

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

On March 28th, 2016, Utah Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood was absolutely cookin’, and what was he serving on the menu? Los Angeles Lakers defenders. His sweet shooting predicated a blowout victory, and he had 30 points by halftime. Kobe Bryant, not quite done yet, decided to d-up the young gun and Hood finished the game with 30 points. He didn’t score at all in the second half. This kind of foreshadowed their next, and last meeting where the Mamba wrecked Hood, on his way to a 60+ point historic, career ending performance. But this bugged me, not because Hood’s shooting got Kobe to go into “Crush. Kill. Destroy.” mode. Nah. It bugged me because he didn’t even score in the second half of that previous game in Utah.

Is Rodney Hood, a streak shooter as we all know by now, someone who starts hot and doesn’t finish the job? I had to find out. So thanks to Basketball-Reference.com I could investigate each game he has played in where he has scored 20 or more points. (List here) He’s done it 24 times so far in his young career, and five of those games (so about 20%) are games that go to OT. Keep that in mind, because that means there’s more time in the second half than in the first half for scoring.

So I looked at the play-by-play and calculated all the points. Here they are:

AllThatAmar, Basketball-Reference.com

Okay, so what really jumps up is that LAL @ UTA game where he scored 30 in the first and 0 in the second half. But that seems to have been the exception and not the norm. In fact, the numbers do not prove the recency bias related theory at all. Hood is actually someone who, in the games where he gets hot, is someone who gets hot in the fourth quarter (and OT) more than not.

Now, these 24 games aren’t his entire career. And these are only the games where he scores 20 or more points. AMONG these games he does more damage in the second half. But a 37 point margin over 24 games is only +1.54 points per game. That’s one jumper going in more. So if anything, Hood is a balanced sorer on average in the games where he drops a 20-piece bucket on the other team.

I don’t know if I would find anything of interest in investigating the other 124 games of his NBA career — but I’m not going to slog through all of that to find out. I will leave that to a younger Jazz fan to figure out.

Hood, in my mind, was a guy who got hot early and got most of his points before halftime. A huge part of that opinion was framed around that LAL game. Now I see that opinion was incorrect. And I’m happy about that. Hood still has a way to go to be a consistent shooter (by the percentages), but being able to finish his best games strongly instead of fizzling away in crunch time will serve Hood, and the teams he plays for, very well going forward.