Utah Jazz Showing Off Youth In First Half At New Orleans

Dec 28, 2023, 7:08 PM


Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) cheers from the sidelines during a great fourth quarter for the Jazz during an NBA basketball game between the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. The Jazz came back in the fourth quarter after being behind to the Pelicans since the first quarter to win the game 105-100. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – New Orleans took advantage of a porous Jazz defense in the opening half but Utah showed flashes of brilliance on the offensive end.

Utah (13-18) looks to continue a three-game winning streak as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans (17-14) at the Smoothie King Center on Thursday, December 28.

RELATED: Utah Jazz Frontcourt Duo Combine For Alley-Oop Slam

Early in the second period, rookie point guard Keyonte George put former no. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson on spin cycle and then found second-year big man Walker Kessler above the rim for a slam dunk.

Kessler finished the half 3-of-3 from the field with six points, a steal, and a block. George, the first-year PG out of Baylor, came off the bench to hit a three and grab two rebounds, and dished out two assists.

New Orleans closed the half on a 12-5 run to take a 59-51 halftime lead.

Pelicans Look To End Two-Game Home Skid

The Pels are seventh in the Western Conference and one game behind the sixth-seeded Dallas Mavericks. New Orleans has the 16th-best offensive rating (115.6) in the league and the eighth-highest defensive rating (113.3). They have lost back-to-back games home games, falling to Houston and Memphis.

The Jazz enters the matchup riding a three-game road winning streak. Utah had two road wins this season before beginning the current five-game swing.

RELATED: Jazz Wrap Up Road Trip Against New Orleans Pelicans

Seven Pelicans average double-figures with Brandon Ingram’s 23.1 ppg leading the way. Former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williams is second with 22.3 points and 6.1 boards. Former Portland Trail Blazer CJ McCollum pours in 19.6 points a night on 46 percent shooting and 41.9 percent from deep.

The Jazz are 2-0 against New Orleans this season after consecutive home wins in late November. Utah bested the Pelicans 105-100 on November 25 before surviving with a 114-112 win two nights later.

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The Jazz return to Delta Center where they will host the Miami Heat (18-12) on Saturday, December 30. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. (MT). The game will be broadcast on KJZZ, Jazz+NBA League PassKSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM), KSLSports.com, and the KSL Sports app.

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Utah Jazz Showing Off Youth In First Half At New Orleans