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Game Preview: New Orleans Pelicans at Utah Jazz -- Time to even the score

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Game #76: New Orleans Pelicans (32-42) @ Utah Jazz (23-52)
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
March 31, 2014 -- 7:00 pm MT
TV: ROOT Sports -- RADIO: 1280 am / 97.5 fm

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
April Game Streams -- The Bird Writes -- Pelicans vs Jazz coverage

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The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz shouldn't be bitter rivals -- but they both claim each other in some way. The Pelicans have a Pistol Pete Jersey up in their building, despite the fact that the Maravich never played for the Charlotte Hornets franchise (which moved to New Orleans, and now recently changed their name). Similarly, the franchise left New Orleans, and with them took the Mardi Gras colors and the name "Jazz". It's a funny situation between these two teams. But both are anything other than a side interest on a daily night's schedule in the NBA.

The Pellies are leading the season series this year 2-1, with the final game being tonight in Utah. Historically this is a one sided match-up. Utah is 44-26 against New Orleans all time (including their years in Charlotte), and have a commanding 26-8 record in the #801. Heck, the Jazz are even .500 on the road in this head to head series. That's how one sided it has been!

If the Jazz are going to win tonight it's going to be due to a number of factors -- factors which have had a part to play in the majority of the Jazz' 23 wins this season. First of all, it's a home game, and the Jazz have won 15 of their 23 wins in Utah. Secondly, the Jazz have the fatigue advantage, as a product of being off the last three nights. New Orleans just finished a three games in four nights set, had a night off, and are at it again. And third, the Pelicans are all kinds of injured right now.

  • Jrue Holiday (starting PG) -- out for the rest of the season
  • Eric Gordon (starting SG) -- Knee tendinitis that has kept him out the last few weeks
  • Ryan Anderson (would be starting stretch big) -- out for the rest of the season
  • Jason Smith (would be first big off the bench) -- out for the rest of the season

Aaaaaand, for tonight Anthony Davis, their best player and All-Star, is a game time decision.

The majority of Utah's wins are, again, at home, against a tired team, that's missing 2-3 rotation guys. Tonight we're at home, against a not-as-rested team as we are, and they are missing five players who could all start for our team. It will take a miracle to lose this game if Davis is, indeed, out. I hope he plays.

Moving beyond those obvious things, Monty Williams ' club is crappy on defense just like we are (27th DEF RTG), play a bottom 1/3rd pace. And they still have Tyreke Evans who can 'reke (wreck) it against us any day of the week. And we under estimated Anthony Morrow in the last game.

I think Coach Corbin really buckles down and leads us to victory tonight. Unless I'm severely under-estimating what a healthy Brandon Rush (sore throat) does for us . . .