Jazz Must Avoid Letdown Game Against Hornets
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are looking to rebound from Friday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers when they face the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.
The Jazz lost 116-112 in Los Angeles, snapping a nine-game win streak and suffering their first loss in the month of February.
The Hornets meanwhile are looking to start their six-game west coast road trip on the right foot. Charlotte has played its final home game of the first half of the regular season and will spend the next 10 days on the road before the All-Star break.
Jazz Must Avoid Let Down Game Against Hornets
The Jazz faced tough odds Friday night against the Clippers, playing the second game of a two-game series versus a healthy and hungry roster, just 48 hours after defeating the team in the first matchup of the series.
Now, the Jazz must avoid suffering a letdown loss as they recover from Friday’s finish. The Jazz have been the NBA’s best team for the last month and a half but may face a tougher challenge than expected when they meet the 14-15 Hornets.
The Jazz are still working Mike Conley back into the lineup after the veteran returned Friday against Los Angeles. Conley scored seven of the Jazz first nine points of the game, and finished with 16 points in all, but failed to record either a rebound or an assist after missing six games with a hamstring injury.
Conley first hurt his hamstring in the third quarter against the Hornets on February 5.
The Hornets were without forward PJ Washington in the two teams’ last matchup. Washington is averaging 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists for Charlotte in his second season.
The forward’s ability to spread the floor could cause the Jazz issues, the same way Clippers forward Marcus Morris did on Friday by scoring 17 points on 7-11 shooting, including 3-5 from the three-point line.
Hornets Talented Backcourt
The Hornets have one of the league’s best young backcourt, which the Jazz experienced the last time these two teams played when rookie LaMelo Ball scored a career-high 34 points in the 138-121 loss.
Though Terry Rozier struggled in the last meeting, scoring just 15 points on 6-16 shooting, the guard showed his ability to win games single-handedly in Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors when Rozier scored the final 10 points of the for Charlotte, including the buzzer-beating jump shot to complete the comeback.
Former Jazzman Gordon Hayward is also having a career-year, averaging 21.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists for the Hornets.
The Jazz can’t assume that just because they gave the Clippers a tough test on Friday night, they can stroll to an easy victory against a talented Hornets team that has proven it can beat any team in the NBA.
With Washington in the Hornets lineup, the Jazz will have to prove they can adjust to slow floor spacing forwards with Bojan Bogdanovic in the lineup.
Bogdanovic scored 23 points Friday night on 8-11 shooting and 4-5 from the three-point line but struggled to defend the Clippers Morris.
The forward will have to show he can be counted on to assist in the Jazz defensive efforts if they hope to be a true championship contender this season.
On the flip side, Washington must prove he can slow Bogdanovic with his defense. In the last meeting between the teams, the Jazz forward scored 31 points on 10-15 shooting, including a stretch of 12 points in 90 seconds on four consecutive made three-pointers.
The Jazz and Pelicans tip-off at 7 pm MT, the game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.
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