Jazz Look For Two-Game Sweep Vs. Pelicans
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are looking for a two-game sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans when the teams meet on Thursday.
Due to the pandemic shortened schedule, teams are being asked to face one another in back to back games in the same city periodically throughout the season to limit travel and potential COVID-19 exposure.
Jazz Dominant In First Meeting With Pelicans
The Jazz easily captured the first meeting between the two teams thanks to 28 points from guard Donovan Mitchell.
The All-Star scored 15 first-quarter points which drew the focus of the Pelicans defense before finishing the game as a playmaker for his teammates.
The Jazz hit 21 of their 47 three-point attempts, led by Joe Ingles who connected on five threes in his first game back after missing three contests with Achilles soreness.
Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson added four threes apiece, while forward Bojan Bogdanovic connected on three of his eight deep ball attempts.
The Jazz sunk 15 more threes, grabbed 16 more rebounds, and dished out 11 more assists than the Pelicans who trailed the Jazz by double-digits in all but the first 3:33 of the second half.
During the Jazz win streak, the team owns the league’s fourth-best offensive rating and best defensive rating.
Pelicans Look To Bounce Back
The Pelicans meanwhile are looking for bounce-back performances from most players in the lineup.
Zion Williamson led all scorers in the series opener with 32 points but was the focus of the Jazz attack on offense, spearheaded by Georges Niang who finished with 10 points in 12 minutes, much of which was spent being defended by Williamson.
Brandon Ingram scored 8-18 shooting and the Pelicans were outscored by 18 in the 35 minutes he was on the court. Ingram averaged a remarkable 35 points per game last season in four games with the Jazz but was unable to recapture that magic in Utah.
Outside of Williamson’s brilliant 14-19 shooting display, the Pelicans connected on just 29-76 field goal attempts for 38 percent and shot just 6-26 from three.
The Pelicans attempt the third-fewest three-pointers in the NBA (30.1) and connect on the second-lowest percentage (32.7).
The key matchup between the two teams will pit reserve guards Joe Ingles and Nickeil Alexander-Walker against one another.
Ingles 15 points on 5-6 shooting were key for the Jazz bench who outscored the Pelicans by 12 during the Australian’s 18 minutes on the court.
Alexander-Walker meanwhile struggled to record nine points on 4-13 shooting despite playing more than 30 minutes against the Jazz.
In total, the Jazz got 52 points from their bench, led by 18 points from Jordan Clarkson, while the Pelicans mustered just 31 second unit points, despite eight different players seeing the floor.
The Jazz and Pelicans will tip-off at 8 pm MST, the game will be broadcast on TNT.