The Utah Jazz face off against the potent New Orleans Pelicans tonight for the first of a back to back with the Pelicans this week. This game should be interesting because the Jazz have won five straight and are playing relatively well but the Pelicans are always a dangerous team and you add the fact that Pelicans star Zion Williamson is playing like an all star in only his second year and it makes for a huge test for the Jazz. Can they avoid being complacent and send a strong message to the Pelicans and the league that they are going to be a force this year?
When: Tuesday, January 19th • 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: NBA TV, AT&T SportsNet - Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
The Pelicans are an interesting team in that before the season started many pundits and fans were excited about their roster and envisioned a possible jump into the playoffs and maybe even a top four western conference finish this season. So far they have underachieved those expectations and are sitting at 5-7, 12th in the conference. Some of that may be due to the fact that they are trying to learn new coach Stan Van Gundy’s system and some may also be the fact that they are a fairly young team and everybody is still trying to figure out their roles on the team. Nonetheless, this is not a team that the Jazz want to overlook. The Jazz defense has looked really good during this five game win streak but it will be interesting to see if they can contain the two headed monster of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson tonight. Also for the Pelicans, they might be welcoming back Lonzo Ball tonight. His status is officially listed as questionable and it sounds like it will be a game time decision.
The Jazz are coming back home after defeating Denver on Sunday on the road and playing 7 of their last 8 on the road. The team officially starts a six game home stand tonight and the next two are against the Pelicans. It is encouraging to see the Jazz get quality wins at Milwaukee and at Denver during the recent road trip but they will have their hands full with New Orleans who are better than their record suggests they are. For the Jazz, Derrick Favors is probable to go tonight but Joe Ingles is still questionable and rookie guard Elijah Hughes will be out.
It should be the first of at least two entertaining games this week. Whenever the Jazz and Pelicans play it seems to be a close game and things get really tense at the end but we shall see.