UTAH JAZZ

Markkanen Returns As Jazz Host Pelicans In Two Game Series

Dec 13, 2022, 1:37 PM | Updated: 1:41 pm

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans passes the ball as Walker Kessler #24 of the Utah Ja...

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans passes the ball as Walker Kessler #24 of the Utah Jazz and Lauri Markkanen #23 defend during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center on October 23, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz got welcome news as Lauri Markkanen returned to practice ahead of their two-game series with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Markkanen has missed the team’s last three games due to illness.

The Pelicans will play their next to games in Utah having won seven straight overall.

Jazz Closer To Full Health With Markkanen Return

The Jazz will be closer to whole with the return of Markkanen to the lineup. Coach Will Hardy hasn’t had his full complement of players available in nearly a month since Mike Conley was injured on November 19 in Portland.

Conley missed nine games but returned to the lineup in Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Markkanen and Conley, the Jazz two most important players haven’t shared the floor for the last 11 games, and the team is just 3-8 during the stretch.

The Jazz won’t be back at full health, however.

Guard Collin Sexton left the team’s win over the Golden State Warriors on December 7th with a hamstring strain and will be reexamined this week.

Sexton and rookie Simone Fontecchio will miss the front end of the two-game series with the Pelicans.

Pelicans Own Best Record In The West

Once thought to be a sleeper in the West, the Pelicans no longer catch any opponent by surprise.

New Orleans owns the best record in the West at 18-8, and the third-best record in the NBA overall.

The return of Zion Williamson after missing all of last season has been critical for the Pelicans. The former number-one overall pick is averaging 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting 60 percent from the floor.

Williamson’s return has allowed the Pelicans to survive the absence of Brandon Ingram who will miss his 12th game of the season so far.

Ingram left the Pelicans lineup with a toe injury in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on November 25th, but New Orleans hasn’t lost since.

The Pelicans are 9-2 overall this year when Ingram doesn’t suit up.

Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans will tip off at 7 pm MT in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

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Markkanen Returns As Jazz Host Pelicans In Two Game Series