Houston • Point guard Ricky Rubio’s absence due to a hamstring injury not only created an opening in the Jazz’s starting lineup, but also altered their rotation and brought players onto the court from deep on the bench.

That’s how this stuff works, explaining why the Jazz had guards Dante Exum and Raul Neto playing together at one stage of Wednesday’s 116-108 victory over Houston in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Toyota Center.

The Jazz thrived, somehow. Houston is one of the NBA’s deepest teams, yet the Jazz’s four reserves outscored the Rockets’ five-man bench 41-22. Only three of Houston’s reserves scored, led by Eric Gordon with 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

The Jazz’s bench-scoring breakdown: Alec Burks 17, Jae Crowder 15, Exum nine and Neto zero. Even so, Neto didn’t hurt the team in his nearly eight minutes of action, as Houston outscored the Jazz by only two points. The Jazz profited by between seven and 15 points when the other three reserves were playing.

It was a validating effort for Jazz coach Quin Snyder and his staff members, who are devoted to player development — even when players are not getting into games regularly.

“Those guys coming off the bench know they have the confidence of both the staff and the other guys on the team,” Snyder said.

Burks has been a success story of the playoffs, coming through with 11 points in the clinching Game 6 of the first-round series vs. Oklahoma City after Rubio was injured in the first quarter. He scored 11 points in the first half Wednesday, helping the Jazz take a 64-55 lead. Burks finished with six assists.

Exum contributed four rebounds and two assists, while hitting two 3-pointers — including an important shot from the corner in the fourth quarter — and doing a nice defensive job against Houston’s James Harden.

Crowder remains a big component of the Jazz’s postseason effort, adding 10 rebounds to his scoring total Wednesday.

Snyder used only four reserves in an strategy designed to feature a smaller lineup, keeping forward Jonas Jerebko out of the rotation.