Utah will be looking to right a few wrongs from last season in this. They were top dog in the West in 2021 but flattered to deceive in the playoffs going out to Paul George’s LA Clippers. If the Jazz is to become more than just a regular season team they have to overcome the fact that they have a relatively weaker defense compared to offense. They have one of the smallest group of players in the league and that counts against them in the big games. They face New Orleans who are 4-16 coming into this one , a record better than only Orlando and Houston. Utah edging out a close first quarter with Big player from the paint Bojan Bogdanovic(23 points) leading the way. Of his supporting cast, check out this play by Rudy Gay at 25-17 Jazz. The little hip movement creating the space for the shot. Turning the back on the marker keeps him guessing the direction you will go.
Ratcheting up the field goal attempts was key to the Pelicans turning the game around in the second Q. Also getting those steals and turnovers. New Orleans had 8 steals for the match. Ingram(21 points) was instrumental. Watch his successive jumpers at 45-41 and 45-39 Jazz. Hernangomez’s three point shot at the half time buzzer making sure the Pelicans go into Q3 the leaders. This was the proverbial game of four quarters, going back and forth in each. Utah came roaring back with their best scoring quarter of the match. They were huge from down town. Check out the ball movement at 58-57 Jazz , trying to draw out the Pelicans.
The difference maker between the winners and the losers of this one was that Pelicans kept the game close single digit deficits making sure they had a chance in Q4. Turning point of the match, 82-80 Jazz. An air ball should really have seen Utah retrieve the ball for a fast break. Two Jazz players getting in each other’s way leaving Ingram to feed it to Hernangomez for the easy lay up. Great shooting by New Orleans Alexander-Walker(15 points) also was crucial in get the victory. The Pelicans’ movement on the paint was also phenomenal in Q4. They weathered the storm from the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell with about a minute and 45 to go. Ingram was the main man at the end, his turnover(I said it) gained allowed the chance to get the 3 pointer for the win by Graham. Great win for the Pelicans in an otherwise difficult season.