UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Flattened By Soaring Pelicans

Mar 4, 2022, 8:49 PM
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz should have known it wasn’t going to be their night when assistant coach Dell Demps tore the patellar tendon in his knee while working out with Udoka Azubuike shortly before their matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans.

From there, the evening snowballed as the Jazz fell 124-90 in a battle of previously unbeaten teams post-All-Star break.

New Orleans outplayed the Jazz in every aspect of the game from nearly the opening tip building a 19 point first quarter lead, extended that lead to 30 in the second before it peaked at 37 in the third quarter.

The Jazz were unable to stay in front of the Pelicans attackers on the perimeter and trailed too far off shooters when New Orleans did get penetration.

On offense, the Jazz couldn’t get through, over, or around the Pelicans’ superior length, committing 19 turnovers including 12 in the first half en route to 36 New Orleans points off giveaways.

“They played at a high level, I thought in a lot of ways,” Quin Snyder said. “Out of 82 [games], there are going to be nights like this.”

If there is a silver lining to the Jazz loss it’s that they aren’t the first team the Pelicans have done this to in the last week.

New Orleans has been the best team in the NBA since the All-Star break having gone 4-0 with each game decided by at least 15 points.

The Pelicans beat the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Sacramento Kings in blowout fashion before crushing the Jazz.

“This happens, they’ve they’ve done this for three straight games,” Donovan Mitchell said. “This is the third time and they’re playing well.”

In the three games before facing the Jazz the Pelicans hadn’t allowed more than 102 points and scored 117 or more in each outing.

New Orleans net rating during the stretch was a staggering 24.1 behind the third-ranked offense in the NBA and the top-ranked defense.

“We knew it was going to be a good game for us,” Rudy Gobert said, “and we just didn’t bring it.”

The Pelicans were most impressive defensively against the Jazz perimeter scorers in the win as Mitchell, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jordan Clarkson combined to shoot just 11-48 for 31 points.

Jazz Prepare For Thunder

The Jazz will have Saturday to lick their wounds before turning their attention to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

The Thunder had lost six out seven heading into the All-Star break, and are 2-3 since the weeklong hiatus including a blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

The Jazz can guarantee themselves a winning record on their current road trip with a win in Oklahoma City before traveling to face the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

The Thunder have been playing shorthanded in their last few outings. Lu Dort, Kenrich Williams, and star rookie Josh Giddey have played one combined game since the All-Star break.

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