Game On: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz

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Published: March 5, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans take on the Utah Jazz at 6 p.m. tonight at the Smoothie King Center. Both teams have struggled of late, with the Pelicans having lost three straight games due to 4th quarter letdowns, and the Utah Jazz dropping out of the 8th seed due to losing five straight games (and going 2-8 over their last ten.)

The Jazz and Pelicans rank similarly on offense, with the Pelicans 103.1 rating tied for 14th, while the Jazz’s 102.9 being good for a tie in 16th. Where the teams differ is on defense, where the Jazz rank 13th with a rating of 102.9, while the Pelicans are tied in 23rd with a rating of 106.2. The two teams have complete opposite styles of play, with the Jazz rating dead last in pace (and the Pelicans being 12th.)

The Pelicans may see Omer Asik return to the lineup, as he is currently listed as questionable. If he does, do not be surprised to see him suit up as a starter, just like the team did with Eric Gordon.

Here are the keys to the game:

  • Get Davis Rolling- Since his blowout performance against the Detroit Pistons, Davis has been held largely in check. According to The Advocate’s Brett Dawson, Davis has averaged nearly seven points fewer per game, with three fewer shots per game, since the Pistons matchup. It will be tough with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors patrolling the paint, but Davis has to get rolling for the team to win.
  • Pace- The Jazz like to play slow, limit possessions, and have their defense squeeze the life out of you. In order for the Pelicans to get their offense rolling, they need to get out and run to score some easy baskets against a strong interior defense.
  • Turnovers- 17 of the Pelicans 23 wins have come when they have forced more than 12 turnovers in a game. The Jazz average 14 turnovers a game.

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