The New Orleans Pelicans are having a fairly solid year, looking as though they may have finally found a mix of players that will take them back to the playoffs. They are currently at .500, in the 8th seed in the standings, and sit three games ahead of the Utah Jazz. After a rough schedule in December for the Jazz, the January schedule is beginning to look like an easier stretch, but Utah will need to put in 110% to come out of this month in the playoffs. A win tonight against the Pelicans could mean the world of difference come April, if we are fighting for the 7-8 seed.
When: Wednesday, January 3rd, 7:00pm
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Rudy Gobert - Knee (Targeting late January, according to Rotoworld report)
Raul Neto - Head/knee (Out indefinitely)
Dante Exum - Shoulder (Out indefinitely)
New Orleans Pelicans
Tony Allen - Knee (Targeting January)
Alexis Ajinca - Knee (Out indefinitely
Frank Jackson - Foot (Targeting January)
Solomon Hill - Hamstring (Our indefinitely)
What to Watch For:
Utah Jazz to honor Thomas S. Monson
The Utah Jazz will be honoring Thomas S. Monson with a moment of silence. The LDS church president passed away last night. He was a big Utah Jazz fan. When he was in good health, he was a staple at Utah Jazz game. He also gave us this great moment with Jerry Sloan.
Regardless of your faith, the Jazz lost another big time Jazz fan. Condolences to Monson’s family and the LDS community on their loss.
Twin Towers vs Jazz’s depleted front court
The twin towers of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis will be a challenge for Utah, as Rudy Gobert is injured. I do not yet have a confirmed starting lineup, but if I were Quin Snyder, I would heavily consider pairing Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh together when Cousins and Davis are both out. Jonas Jerebko also has that gritty hustle that always seems to give guys like Anthony Davis trouble.
On the flip side, maybe going small with Thabo Sefolosha is the answer. Instead of fighting fire with fire, maybe fighting fire with small-ball could work. However, with Davis’ and Cousins’ penchant for post play, I worry about Thabo’s ability to keep them out of the paint and off the boards.
Donovan Mitchell’s Encore
As usual, all eyes will be on Donovan Mitchell. The last time Donovan Mitchell faced off against the Pelicans, he torched them for 41 points, setting a Jazz rookie record. Tony Allen is out so Donovan will likely be guarded by a mixture of Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson, and possibly E’twaun Moore. They will not be too keen on being the next unfortunate victims to allow Mitchell to score 40+.
Jazz role players
Aside from Donovan, it will be important for our Steal-Fecta of Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, and Thabo Sefolosha to be hounding the passing lanes, making it difficult for the NOLA guards to get the ball into the bigs. That is easier said than done, but if anyone has the personnel to do it, we do.
Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors will also play a huge part in the outcome of this game. If they play well, we have a chance. If they have a cold night, it will be that much more difficult to come out with a win. We are defending home court after a long weekend, so our guys will be fresh and hopefully not the least bit rusty since they last beat the Cavaliers last Saturday.
Who wins tonight?
This poll is closed