The Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans try to shake off the Triptyfan from the Thanksgiving turkey and face each other for game one of a two game set and also the first matchup of this young season. The Pelicans have not had the kind of season that they envisioned so far, but they are still a very talented, young team with all star Brandon Ingram leading the way. Even though the Pelicans roll into town without star Zion Williamson this will be an entertaining couple of games between these two teams
The Pelicans are coming off a big win against the Washington Wizards after losing badly to the Minnesota Timberwolves at home. The Pelicans have now won 2 of the last 4 after dropping 11 of the previous 12. It has been a struggle without star forward Zion Williamson, which may be directly affecting co-star Brandon Ingram. Ingram, an all-star from a season ago, has seen his PPG down from last season with the ability for opposing defenses to focus solely on him. A bright spot for the Pelicans has been Jonas Valanciunas as the teams second leading scorer at 19.2 PPG. Valanciunas has always been one of the more difficult players for Jazz center Rudy Gobert to guard, so it will be another interesting matchup.
The Utah Jazz are coming off of an important, albeit not the most impressive win of the season. They bounced back from a bad loss with a win in crunch time against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Hopefully the short Thanksgiving break gave this team some time to get their minds off of basketball so that they can come back with a little bit of renewed focus. Although a 12-6 record coming into this game is not terrible, this team is dealing with the burden of higher expectations and the expectation that they will keep pace with the other top western conference teams. It won’t be easy for the Jazz to slow down both Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas for one night let alone two but look for this team to continue to focus on improving weak spots such as defensive rebounding and transition defense against such a young, fast team.
It’s almost time to break out the hot cocoa and leftover turkey for this Black Friday matchup. Let’s hope that both of these next two games do not disappoint and that the Jazz can start with a win tonight!
Game Date/Time: Friday, November 26th, 2021, 7:00 PM MT
Location: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
LOCAL TV: ATTSN-RM
RADIO: 97.5/1280 The Zone, or listen on the Utah Jazz app