Utah Jazz (0-8) vs New Orleans Pelicans (3-5)
Tip Off @ 7:00 p.m. MST
TV : Root Sports
Projected Starting Lineups
PG- John Lucas III
SG- Gordon Hayward
SF- Richard Jefferson
PF- Derrick Favors
C- Enes Kanter
New Orleans Pelicans
PG- Jrue Holliday
SG- Eric Gordon
SF- Al-Farouq Aminu
PF- Anthony Davis
C- Jason Smith
The Utah Jazz come into tonight’s matchup needing a win in the worst way. The New Orleans Pelicans come into tonight on a second night of a back-to-back, as they were blown out last night in L.A. by the Lakers.
The Jazz just got a little bit thinner at one of there weakest spots, as yesterday, the team decided to waive Jamaal Tinsley. Tinsley had been playing about 14 minutes per game, and only averaging 1.1 points and 2.9 assists. Aside from Ian Clark, who has only seen the court for a couple minutes this season, Tinsley was the worst shooter on the team, shooting 20% from the field.
With that move, the Jazz might play Alec Burks a little bit more at point guard tonight. They have been trying to make him be able to play both positions and by letting Tinsley go, and Trey Burke still rehabbing his broken finger, that all but forces Burks to have to play some point. If that is the case, Burks will need to take care of the ball better. So far on the season, he is averaging 2.4 turnovers per game. The key ones coming late in ball games.
For the 1st time since probably the Phoenix Suns game, the Jazz come into tonight ranked higher in rebounds per game. The Jazz come into tonight ranked 18th and 42.1 per game. The Pelicans are ranked 19th at 41.6 per game. Statistically, that is all that the Jazz are doing better. The Pelicans are better in scoring (21st, 95.9 ppg), assists (16th, 21.6 apg), and points allowed (9th, 97.4 ppg). The Jazz are the worst scoring team in the league (30th, 86.9 ppg), the second to last team in assists (29th, 17.1 apg), and in the bottom ten of the league in points allowed (21st, 100.6 ppg).
Key Matchup : Derrick Favors vs Anthony Davis
The matchup between these two guys is exciting to think about. Favors plays extremely well at home this season. At home, Favors is shooting the ball at 52% from the field, while averaging 16 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2.3 blocks. As good as Anthony Davis has played this season, his numbers have dropped on the road.
At home, Davis is averaging an unbelievable 5 blocks per game. On the road however, that has dropped to 1.8 per game. He also has dropped his shooting averages from 52% at home to 41% on the road.
Where this game is at home, I expect Favors to play well. He needs to try and push Davis around a little down low as he is nearly 50 pounds heavier than Davis. Davis will most likely get his points, as he is averaging 18.3 points per game on the road this season, but Favors should be able to effect what Davis wants to do. I’ll compare tonight’s game to a game the Pelicans had earlier this season against Memphis. I’m going to compare Favors to Zach Randolph. Not comparing them statistically, but comparing them in the sense that they are both a bigger, stronger defender guarding Davis. In that game guarded by Zebo, Davis only shot the ball at 35% from the field. He ended up with 18 points on the night, but 8 of those came from the free throw line where Davis is a very good free throw shooter.
This will be an exciting matchup between these two former lottery picks, Davis 2012 1st round, pick 1, Favors 2010 1st round, pick 3. Both players will probably have a nice game, but Favors will need to try and bully Davis around with his size advantage to help give the Jazz a chance in this one.
Do we really want to talk about the bench? Our bench has really gotten us nothing so far this season. The Jazz’s starting unit has scored over 70% of the teams total points this season. The bench is averaging 25.9 ppg, while 13.6 of those points are averaged by Alec Burks. Also, you waived Tinsley, who was only averaging 1.1 ppg, so now the Jazz are down to 24.8 ppg if you factor him out of the lineup. This bench is struggling and really needs to help out the starting unit.
The Pelican’s bench, which consists of guys like Tyreke Evans, Greg Stiemsma, and Austin Rivers, is helping out a little bit by averaging 35 ppg for the team. There bench unit is also shooting the ball at 45% from the field and 40% from 3. The last number is a helped by Anthony Morrow shooting the ball at 62.5% from 3. Everyone else hasn’t shot the ball nearly as well from 3.
The key part of the Pelican’s bench to watch is Tyreke Evans. Evans loves playing against the Jazz if you can remember from his time with the Sacramento Kings. However, to start the season with his new team, Evans is one of the worst shooters off the bench for the Pelicans. Evans is shooting the ball at 32% from the field and an abysmal 14% from 3. Like I said, he likes playing the Jazz. Last season, Evans went for nearly 20 ppg, 5 apg, and 4 rpg, while shooting 46% from the field against the Jazz. The Jazz, whose bench is thin, could struggle keeping Evans in check. Might put a guy like Mike Harris on Evans to try and frustrate him a little bit.
After watching Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Julius Randle last night, I felt giddy knowing that the Jazz will most likely end up with one of these guys next season. However, as excited as I think all of Jazz Nation got last night, I still hate to see the Jazz lose. Especially with the talent that we have in our core young guys. This team is better than what their record indicates.
As much as I want to see the Jazz get a win, the poor point guard play is going to continue to hurt them until Trey Burke gets back. Until then, I don’t know if the Jazz will win tonight. John Lucas III will be matched up against Jrue Holliday tonight, which could hurt the Jazz. Jrue Holliday is coming off a season where he made an All-Star team. Holliday is averaging 13.1 points and 7 assists per game to JL3’s 6.6 points and 2.1 assists per game. Like in the previous 8 games, the Jazz are outmatched at point guard and that is the difference maker.
I hate to see the Jazz lose games. Especially a game like tonight, when the Jazz are coming into the game having a days rest. While the Pelicans come into tonight having played last night. The Pelicans could have some tired legs, but I don’t think that will be the case. As a result of being blown out last night, the Pelicans rested their starters for the majority of the game. If anyone might have tired legs, it would be the Pelicans bench. I just think the point guard matchup might be too much to handle for the Jazz tonight, although I wish I was wrong.
Pelicans 97 Jazz 85