Zion Williamson Won’t Make Debut Against Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz, winners of 10 straight games will avoid Zion Williams when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night at Smoothie King Arena. Williamson, who has missed the first 31 games of the season for the Pelicans was rumored to be making his return against the Jazz before General Manager David Griffin dispelled the rumors.
Griffin said the Pelicans anticipate this year’s number one overall pick will make his debut on January 22 against the San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz will face the Pelicans again March 13 in Salt Lake City for the final meeting between the two teams of the season.
Williamson averaged 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in four preseason games with the Pelicans while shooting a staggering 71% from the floor before suffering a torn meniscus. The former Duke forward was projected to miss 6-8 weeks with the injury but has seen that timetable stretch to 12 weeks.
The Jazz defeated the Pelicans 128-126 on January 6, with the Jazz getting the benefit of a blown call to end the game. The NBA determined that Rudy Gobert fouled Brandon Ingram on the game’s final play that would have given the Pelicans forward an opportunity to tie the game at the foul line. Instead, the Jazz escaped New Orleans with their sixth win in the current 10-game win streak.
Ingram scored 35 points for the Pelicans in the loss and was aided by 23 points from JJ Redick and 21 points from Lonzo Ball. Bojan Bogdanovic paced the Jazz 35 points of his own.
Despite the loss to the Jazz, the Pelicans have seen a surge in play as of late, having won seven of their last 10 games including a four-game stretch that saw the young roster defeat the Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and Houston Rockets. New Orleans currently sits in the 14th seed in the West with a record of 15-26, but sit just four games back of the eight seeded Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the conference.
The Pelicans defeated the Detroit Pistons 117-110 in overtime Monday night but were without the services of Derrick Favors, Jrue Holiday, and Brandon Ingram.
All three players are considered day to day with their injuries.
The Jazz have the best offensive rating in the NBA over their 10-game win streak that has seen them climb to the second-best record in the west at 28-12. The team owns a 122 offensive rating over the last 10 games, a full 3.8 points per 100 possessions ahead of the second-rated Spurs.
Five players for the Jazz are scoring in double-digits during the stretch led by Donovan Mitchell at 22.3 points per game. Bogdanovic (20.3), Joe Ingles (16.1), Jordan Clarkson (15), and Gobert (14.9) are also averaging double-digit scoring numbers.
Ingles is in the midst of a particularly prolific stretch for the Jazz. The Australian wing has made a three-pointer in 21 straight games and has made at least two threes in 18 of the outings.
The Jazz and Pelicans tip-off from Smoothie King Arena at 6 PM MST and the game can be seen on AT&T SportsNet.
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