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Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans Game Preview: Can Jazz Capitalize on Weakened Pelicans Squad?

Utah Jazz (6-18) @ New Orleans Pelicans (11-12)
Smoothie King Center • New Orleans, LA
6:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz have been in freefall mode ever since the inspiring "WAKE UP" game that already happened about a month ago, losing 11 of 12 since then. A game against a Pelicans squad with an ailing/MIA superstar in Anthony Davis, who is a top 3 player in the league this season, could be just what this Jazz squad needs to get a seemingly rare win this month.

The Jazz lost to the Pelicans a few weeks ago at home by 12 points in a career game for the NBA's new superstar in Anthony Davis, who finished with 43 points off of 23 shots, 14 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Take out his numbers from that game and you get a Pelicans team that would have struggled that night shooting just 37% from the field. If Davis is out, hopefully we see the Jazz actually look like a capable team on the defensive end.

Also of note from the Pelicans-Jazz game on Nov. 22: Hayward finished with 31 points off of 16 shots while Burke finished with 20 points off of 12 shots. This Pelicans team appears to have the same weakness as our team of not being elite at stopping opposing teams' backcourts.

Looking at some of the advanced stats, the Pelicans and Jazz both play at a fairly slow pace. The Pelicans have one of the league's best offensive efficiencies while the Jazz are middling in this area. Both teams are both poor in defensive efficiency.

With all this talk about Anthony Davis, I have overlooked at a potential key man down the Jazz may have in their own starting power forward Derrick Favors. We may be having another Gobert start in the works tonight (I love Favors, but no complaints here in regards to seeing Gobert get some more starts under his belt).


PG: Trey Burke vs. Jrue Holiday- Will Burke be able to slow down former all-star point guard Holiday or at least limit him to his season averages of 16 PPG and 7 APG? I have a feeling this matchup will be indicative to how the game goes.

SG: Alec Burks vs. Eric Gordon- Call me a homer but I would say this is a matchup that heavily Favors the Jazz. Burks is a young swaggy 14 PPG scorer off of 41% shooting while Gordon is a hobbling shell of his former self averaging a mere 9.5 PPG off of 39.% shooting.

SF: Gordon Hayward vs. Tyreke Evans- Now I know most Jazz fans here will say Hayward is a clear level over Evans, I would say they really aren't all that far apart this year. Hayward is averaging 19 PPG, 6 RPG, and 4 APG this year while Evans is at 17 PPG, 5 RPG, and 6 APG. If Davis and Favors are both out tonight, this is actually the star matchup of the night.

PF: (Davis vs. Favors- If both are healthy, Davis may go off once again, but hopefully they can cancel each other out a little bit more than last time)

Potential matchup of: Kanter vs. Anderson here if those two are out. Battle of the stretch 4's!

C: Potentially Rudy Gobert vs. Omer Asik - YES PLEASE! Block/Board Party in da house! I want to see how Gobert matches up against a defensive stalwart in Asik. France v. Turkey. Or if Favors is healthy, we will see a Turk-off in Kanter v. Asik. All intriguing matchups!


If Davis is out, this will be a closely contested game throughout, that will come down to some lucky bounces in the final minutes. If Davis plays, this could be an ugly game, but then again, anything can happen in the NBA! Here's to you Jazz, make us proud!


Anthony Davis is reportedly set to come back from his chest contusion injury and play tonight.

Favors is still listed as questionable.