The Trail Blazers welcomed back their starting small forward Rodney Hood on Wednesday night as the Blazers hosted the Toronto Raptors.
Hood had missed two consecutive games dealing with back spasms.
“He had fresh legs,” CJ McCollum said postgame.
The Blazers were in dire need Hood’s fresh legs and knock down jumper with Portland playing in the second night of a back-to-back.
“It was nice to have Rodney out there. He helped us big time… We needed it,” McCollum said.
The Blazers kept it close until lapses on both ends midway through the fourth quarter. Toronto came on strong late to take the 114-106 win, but it was Hood to the rescue in helping give the Blazers a fighting chance.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame, “You could really tell we were a different team with Rodney out there, adding another scoring threat.”
“Getting Rodney back was good for us tonight, he certainly made a difference for us,” Stotts said.
Hood finished with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from three.
Hood’s 25 points tied his season-high, which he had notched against the 76ers on November 2nd.
Over the last couple of days at shootaround, Hood expressed how he was trying to be patient with his body and get back to feeling as close to 100% as possible.
After Wednesday’s game he said his back is better, however, he will continue to get treatment.
“I’m pretty sore right now, but I felt good once I got going up and down a couple times throughout the game. It’s feeling better,” Hood said.
Hood had also made it clear this week that he was very eager to get back out there and help his team.
He helped out in a big way in his return, scoring in multiple ways.
Yet, he was disappointed in himself late in the game when he missed two three-pointers that he said felt good leaving his hand.
“I wish we could take back those last five, six minutes but other than that, I think we played well enough to win or to be in the game. Give credit to them. They did a hell of a job in the last six minutes executing, particularly on the offensive end and they were tough to guard in those closing moments,” Hood added.
Portland now hits the road for six games in 12 nights. Hood and the Blazers know that back spasms can flare up at any moment. The road will test the Blazers and test Hood’s back.
“It’s something I’m going to have to deal with – just continue to get treatment and hopefully by the road trip, it’ll be feeling better and all the way back to normal.”