It’s a new year but with same troubles for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz lose to the New Orleans Pelicans 108-98 and start 2018 with a loss to a playoff contender. The Utah Jazz couldn’t quite get in a rhythm for tonight’s game, shooting 21% from outside.
The Jazz were lucky in their last game against the Pellies to have to only face one of Cousins and Davis as Davis left the game early with a injury. This time, the Jazz got a taste of a healthy Davis-Cousins frontcourt. The Pelicans frontcourt of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis took full advantage of the absence of Rudy Gobert going a combined 18-37 from the field and finishing with a combined 48 points, 26 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.
The Pelicans were keyed in on Donovan Mitchell who once again scored more than 20 points and finished with 24 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal. New Orleans was not about letting Donovan score 41 points again. Donovan Mitchell struggled from the field, but got to the line often throughout the game and finished with 10 free throw attempts.
Joe Johnson made an appearance and looks to have found his shot again. Joe Johnson scored 20 points off the bench.
The Jazz led after the 1st quarter but their defense let them down. Quin Snyder decided to go with Jonas Jerebko over Thabo Sefolosha at the four position. Jonas finished without a single rebound and had a +/- of -17. The Pelicans absolutely abused Utah at the four spot, constantly running pick and rolls to exploit Jerebko and Johnson there. While Johnson got his buckets, he was overmatched on the defensive end.
Snyder might look back at the tape of this game and regret not going with Thabo Sefolosha to guard Anthony Davis. Thabo’s length could have come in handy. He might have been useful in place of Rodney Hood and Alec Burks who struggled mightily in this game. As well as Joe Johnson played, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood struggled. Beyond a highlight sequence of a dunk and cut to the rim of Burks, these two were out of rhythm combining for 11 points on 4 of 17 shooting.
Rodney Hood continues to be his enigma self this season. When he’s hitting from outside, he’s amazing, but when he’s not, he usually isn’t getting to the line. While he is averaging 2.7 free throw attempts per game, 8 games out of the Jazz’s 38 games he’s had 4 or more free throw attempts while he’s had 7 games of zero free throws. Rodney Hood has had 18 games of 2 free throws or fewer. In other words, his average is deceptive. That’s what’s rough about Rodney, if it’s shot is not falling, you’re not getting much else.
The Utah Jazz had a moment of silence to remember Thomas S. Monson, the LDS church President who passed on late Tuesday night.
Ricky Rubio was 5 of 12 from the field but had a +/- of -20 while he was on the court.
The Utah Jazz are now 16-22 for the season and 3.5 games out of the playoffs and 3.5 games out of the #5 spot in the NBA Draft.
Starting on Friday, the Utah Jazz will begin a four game road trip that starts in Denver and ends in Charlotte. The Utah Jazz have the league’s second worst road record at 3-15. Only the Atlanta Hawks have a worse record at 3-16.
At one point in the game, Matt Harpring said that Donovan Mitchell was having a “rookie” game. To put in context how wrong this is, only 8 players in Utah Jazz history have had games of 24 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal as a rookie: Deron Williams, Trey Burke, Karl Malone, Eric Maynor, Andrei Kirilenko, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, and, you guessed it, Donovan Mitchell. Donovan Mitchell has done it 8 times. The only player to have a “rookie” game like this more times is Karl Malone who did it 9 times.