Nov 13, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis (23) boxes out Utah Jazz small forward Richard Jefferson (24) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Pelicans

 

Utah Jazz (23-49, 8-28 road) @ New Orleans Pelicans (31-40, 19-17 home)

Tip Off @ 6:00 p.m. MST

Regular Season Series Game 3 of 4 (Series tied 1-1)

Overview

The New Orleans Pelicans are wrapping up their four game home stand tonight when they welcome in the Utah Jazz. So far in this home stand, the Pelicans have taken on three of the better teams in the league in the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers. All three of those games, the Pelicans have gotten the win. Overall, the Pelicans have won four games in a row, and a win tonight would extend their longest winning streak of the season.

The Jazz are coming off a game where they were leading by as many as 16 points at one time. The lead slowly slipped away as the Jazz lost in an ESPN nationally televised game to the Memphis Grizzlies by four. The play from the two big men for the Jazz, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, was fantastic. Favors led the Jazz with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Kanter chipped in 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Key Matchup: Derrick Favors vs Anthony Davis

I’m expecting that after the way the two played together last game, and also because of the matchup, Kanter will most likely get the start tonight alongside Favors. With Favors moved to the power forward position, he will have the task of guarding Anthony Davis.

Davis is having a fantastic stretch in the past four games. Davis has averaged 26.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game in those four games, all wins. He also loves playing against the Jazz. He’s averaged 25.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game against the Jazz this season, but the most impressive stat he has had against the Jazz is his 4.5 blocks per game. In the last game against the Jazz, Davis had eight blocks. He had that performance coming off a nine blocks performance the game before, both games in New Orleans.

Favors has been solid all year for the Jazz, and he has been pretty solid this season against the Pelicans. However, when you compare his stats in those two games to the stats of Davis, it is not nearly as impressive. Favors has averaged 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the two games against New Orleans. Favors doesn’t have the blocks that Davis has had in those two games, but Favors has came away with 2.5 steals per game, a pretty impressive stat for a big man.

Favors is coming off an excellent offensive game. Davis is coming off an excellent defensive game. It will be interesting to see how these two match up tonight, but Davis, who has been great all year long, plays much better at home than he does on the road.

Conclusion 

Both of these two teams are headed for the lottery this season. However, the Pelicans don’t look like a team that is lottery bound. They have won eight of their last eleven games and have played some pretty stiff competition. The Jazz on the other hand, have lost 13 of their last 15 games overall, and have lost nine of their last ten of the road.

The Jazz have their work cut out for them tonight in New Orleans. The Pelicans play very well at home, and Davis is the main reason for that play. The Jazz big men will need to have a similar performance like they showed on Wednesday night to give the Jazz a chance to win. The guard play will be important, but most likely will take a back seat to what happens in the paint tonight.

Pelicans 104, Jazz 90

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