Game On: Pelicans at The Utah Jazz

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Published: December 16, 2015

The Pelicans are in Utah tonight to take on the Jazz, who are coming off a pretty rough week. They’ve dropped their last three, but they’ve had a tough schedule including two games against the Thunder. Then there was that game against San Antonio… Of course, they Jazz couldn’t hope for a better matchup tonight as the Pelicans are one of the worst road teams in the NBA.

The Pelicans lost their only game against the Jazz earlier this season. The injury report was a bit longer back then. Evans, Cole and Perkins will all be new additions to the Pelicans rotation tonight. So far, having those guys back hasn’t resulted in a lot wins or better play, but they still help.

Without further ado, keep an eye on these things tonight.

What to Watch for

  • Rebounding – If you just take a look at the Jazz’s raw stats, they don’t appear to do a lot of things very well. The one exception is offensive rebounding. The Jazz rank 5th in offensive rebounds per game and 3rd in offensive rebound percentage. Stopping the Jazz on the boards will be a key.
  • Pace – The Jazz have the slowest pace in the entire NBA. They want to slow down the game and make it ugly. The Pelicans, on the other hand, are one of the faster teams in the league. Pushing the pace might allow the Pelicans to make the Jazz uncomfortable, but as we’ve seen, more possessions aren’t really useful, if you’re not getting good shots.
  • 3 Point Shooting – The Jazz are a little worse than average at defending the 3 point shot. In their first meeting, the Pelicans went 5-17 from 3. Hitting from distance would help tonight and put pressure on the Jazz’s defense.
  • Tyreke – Tyreke has been pretty volatile this season. He’s struggled to fit into the new system and has appeared frustrated at times. He has, at times, looked great, and his 3 point shoot has looked great. This could be an important game for him. Without Rudy Gobert, the Jazz struggle to defend the rim. Opponents go from shooting 55% inside 3 feet to 64% with Gobert off the floor.
  • Progress  – I’ve stopped watching for wins. Now, I’m looking for progress and changes. A lot of us are expecting changes to the Pelicans roster through in-season trades. That’s fine, but I’m still interested to see if some of our guys can grow and learn this system.

Previewing this type of game is a complete bummer. The Jazz on are average team this year. Yes, they have some nice players, and they may very well be on the rise. But the numbers and the eyeball test says this team should be somewhere between the 8-12th best team in the West. This feels like a team the Pelicans should beat, but no wins have come easier this year for the Pels. It seems unlikely tonight will be an exception.

Be sure to follow the Bourbon Street Shots twitter account during the game, and look out for our breakdown after the final buzzer. Enjoy the game!

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