During the third quarter, Anthony Davis had to be carried into the locker room following a collision with Chris Paul. However, we learned soon after that he had escaped major injury and had only suffered a knee contusion. AD was questionable to return in that game, and there exists a chance he might be available Saturday night.
In his post-game comments, Alvin Gentry claimed Davis would be further evaluated the next day. With how often the Pelicans lean towards safety regarding the superstar, don't expect to see him appear against the Jazz as he'll likely sit on the sidelines alongside Jrue Holiday.
Thus, a lot of hope for a win in Utah may fall onto the shoulders of a Pelican looking to make his first appearance of the season, Tyreke Evans. Prior to the game in Los Angeles, Gentry stated that the Pelicans were expecting Evans would be ready to go against the Jazz. Let's hope New Orleans can get plenty of straight gas.
3 Keys to Victory
- Start with ENERGY. The Pelicans endure one of the worst first quarters in the NBA, averaging a deficit of 3.1 points after twelve minutes. Many times, one of the problems has been with the team's focus and energy as they simply fail to give the appropriate amount of effort. Whatever the reason, the lackadaisical play needs to stop, especially on the road as the crowd will never turn into an asset.
- Push the pace. The Jazz rank last in the league in pace and it isn't a surprise as to why -- Utah lacks modern point guard play. They rely on the playmaking abilities of several wing players in Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. The Pelicans need to try to run circles around them and tempt the Jazz to join them. Not allowing Rudy Gobert to get set and clog the paint will be a necessary condition for victory.
- Keep the Jazz off the offensive glass. This duty becomes infinitely harder if Anthony Davis misses the game, but the Pelicans need to find a way to keep Gobert, Derrick Favors and Trevor Booker from getting second chance opportunities. If AD is a no-go, it'll be interesting to see if Alvin Gentry re-inserts Alexis Ajinca back into the rotation. He has accumulated 3 straight DNP's of the coaching decision variety, but it's foreseeable that streak comes to an end.