During the Jazz’s season-best eight-game winning streak, no one has been hotter than point guard Ricky Rubio.
But on Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets, he was finally slowed down — not by an opposing defense, but by injury.
Rubio played only four minutes in the second half of a 106-94 win over the Hornets, during which he scored six points and had seven assists. He’s not expected to miss much time with what the team has described as a left hip injury. The team declared him questionable for Sunday’s game late Saturday afternoon.
Coach Quin Snyder said postgame that the team knew at halftime that Rubio was dinged up and decided to limit his minutes late in the game. Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Raul Neto helped fill in as facilitators for the Jazz. Postgame, Rubio was not available to media, but was walking and changing in the locker room as he normally does.
Rubio has been instrumental to Utah’s recent run, averaging 18.9 points, 7.6 assists and shooting 54.2 percent from 3-point range in his last eight appearances. While the Jazz don’t necessarily expect him to continue scoring as much as he has been, Snyder said before Friday’s game that he thinks Rubio’s recent bolstered play will be more sustainable than his early hot streak to begin the season.
“Ricky’s got some new tools,” Snyder said. “He’s been working on things: his balance, some of his finishing. There’s some shots he’s been willing to try. So I think this is Ricky Rubio.”
Jazz sign Mitrou-Long to 10-day deal
In part to bolster a thin backcourt (trading away Rodney Hood has left Utah relatively light on options), the Jazz are bringing guard Naz Mitrou-Long back from the Salt Lake City Stars, this time on a 10-day contract.
The Iowa State product will start his contract on Sunday, when the Jazz play in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Mitrou-Long was on a two-way deal earlier in the season, during which he made the only shot he took: a 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets. He went on to be waived in January, and former teammate Georges Niang replaced him as one of Utah’s two-way players.
Mitrou-Long has been a standout for the Stars this season, averaging 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists in G League play. If the Jazz don’t pick him up at the end of his contract, the Stars would retain his G League rights unless he’s signed by another NBA team.