The Utah Jazz (28-12) rematch the New Orleans Pelicans (15-26) in their gym again, the second time in 10 days. In the last game verse the Pellies, the Utah Jazz literally ran out of the gym in the closest game in the ten game win streak so far. Brandon Ingram probably should have shot free throws at the end, having being fouled by Gobert, but the Jazz got a bit lucky and the officiating that night was horrible in general. Per predictive models like 538 and betting lines, the Jazz were actually not favored to win that game.
For what it’s worth, while the betting lines favor the Jazz tonight, 538 is 50-50 on who’s going to win tonight. (It predicted losses against the Pellies and Nets, too.) Suffice it to say, though, that this is not going to be an easy game. Going east-to-west, against a team with two days rest that just beat the Pistons without Brandon Ingram, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors, Kenrich Williams, or Jrue Holiday, the Pellies still have fight in them. Jahlil Okafor dropped 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists on the Pistons. Though Okafor, Ingram, and Faves all have various strains and injuries, they are all currently listed as probable to play against the Jazz, and Redick is questionable. Unfortunately for fans of the sport, but perhaps fortunately for the Jazz’s chances, Zion Williamson is not slated to come back until the 22nd, and the Pellies will continue to not have Jrue Holiday to anchor their perimeter. It’s certainly hard to gameplan against a lineup in flux and random bench players like Nicolo Melli or E’Twaun Moore who can randomly pop off for 20 points.
When: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 • 6:00 PM MT
Where: Smoothie King Center • New Orleans, LA
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports New Orleans
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone, ESPN 100.3FM
What to watch for
Brandon Ingram has been beasting it this season, even to the point where his name has been floated around potential All-Star picks. While that’s a stretch to me, his 25.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game understate his role as the primary offensive weapon as a “modern stretch-four” in the absence of Zion. Those counting numbers are more than Jazz darling Donovan Mitchell (24.2p/4.3r/4.4a), good enough for 11th in the league in points per game. Of course, what matters in the end is wins, unlike whatever PPG Twitter wants to say, and Ingram’s defensive rating of 112 isn’t helping his team much. As I read on the internet in the last game, Brandon Ingram was responsible for two thirty point games that night. One thing you can’t doubt is the fact that Ingram is now definitely a scoring threat, so the Jazz will need to continuously contain him to make the game tonight easier to win.
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