It’s Star Wars night at the Viv as the Utah Jazz (11-11) take on the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite another slew of injuries (what else is new?), they’re riding a four game win streak after downing the equally injured Los Angeles Clippers last night thanks to another hot shooting night.
The New Orleans Pelicans come into tonight at 11-10 having lost two straight to the Warriors and Timberwolves. Predictably, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins have been great. Also predictably, they’re not getting a whole lot of help from the rest of their team. When you’re paying $23 million a year to Solomon Hill and Omer Asik, that’s what happens.
It’s paramount for the Jazz to have a good game tonight and get a win with the upcoming schedule. If not, though, we should get some good entertainment out of the theme of the night.
When: December 1, 2017 7:00 PM MST
Where: Vivint SmartHome Arena
TV: AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
New Orleans Pelicans:
Alexis Ajinca - OUT (Knee)
Solomon Hill - OUT (Hamstring)
Frank Jackson - OUT (Foot)
SG Rodney Hood - QUESTIONABLE (Ankle)
PG Raul Neto - QUESTIONABLE (Hamstring)
C Rudy Gobert – OUT (Knee)
SF/PF Joe Johnson – OUT (Wrist)
PG Dante Exum – OUT (Shoulder)
What To Watch For
Can the Jazz offensive explosion continue?
Wait, this Jazz team? Hot shooting? Believe it or not, this team is playing some beautiful offense over this stretch. During the current win streak, Utah is shooting 47% from three point land:
- Alec Burks: 63% on 16 shots.
- Jonas Jerebko: 48% on 12 shots.
- Joe Ingles: 41.4% on 30 (!!) shots.
- Donovan Mitchell: 37.5% on 28 shots.
Over the same stretch, the Jazz have assist totals of 23, 31, 24 and 38. They’ve had a 126.4 offensive rating. For comparison, the Golden State Warriors lead the league this season with a 114.8 offensive rating. Is it sustainable? Absolutely not. Can it continue for tonight? Let’s hope so. At the very least, let’s get some more of this from our friendly neighborhood Spida-Man.
Defending Boogie and Brow
If there’s ever a night when missing Rudy Gobert is going to hurt the Jazz the most, this is it. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis make the Pelicans machine go. They combine for 50.7 points, 23.5 rebounds, 8.1 assists, 3.4 blocks and 2.8 steals per game. They can also both step out to the 3-point line effectively, with Cousins shooting 32.2% and Davis 36% from downtown.
Defensively, this is one time when the Derrick Favors - Gobert front court pairing would be well utilized. Jonas Jerebko has been brilliant for the Jazz offense since entering the starting lineup, but this matchup will be asking a lot from him defensively. Favors and Ekpe Udoh sharing the court might be death offensively, but if the night takes a turn for the worst it might be worth a look against these two defensively.
Most Likely Jazz Killer: Anthony Davis
The Pelicans’ last time out, Davis only played 17 minutes before getting tossed for getting excessively heated arguing with officials. This matchup was already going to be tougher than usual sans Rudy, but if the Brow comes into this game like a heat-seeking missile with something to prove after his first career ejection? Forget about it.