The Pelicans lost a heart-breaker 128-126 against the Utah Jazz Monday night at the Smoothie King Center, despite 35 from All-Star hopeful Brandon Ingram and a swallowed whistle stopping him from scoring 37.
Viewers and participants alike watched the game from the edge of their seats, (14 lead changes in the 1st half; three technicals in the third quarter, another Jaxson Hayes poster) but the only excitement in the end was yelling at refs who appeared to miss a clear Rudy Gobert foul on a driving Brandon Ingram as the last seconds flittered away.
Wild finish to Pels-Jazz...— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 7, 2020
Refs make the right call at the end? pic.twitter.com/MHESvTrZqy
It is a foul if you hit the shooter’s forearm, right?
(You can’t challenge non-calls, though, folks. Blah.)
The Pelicans did well to stay attached late, holding the Jazz offense down; credit should even be given to Lonzo Ball, who contested a floater by Donovan Mitchell to get Utah their last points. This game was highly competitive; Utah has now won 11 of their last 12.
Mitchell finished with 19, but Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 35 along with Joe Ingles’ hot play (22 points, six assists, 4-5 3FG) propelled a big offensive night; their bench, once thought of as a Jazz weakness, plugged in 40. (Wave hello to Jordan Clarkson!)
JJ Redick had 23 and Lonzo Ball added 21 more (super aggressive-style) to add to Ingram’s big night. E’Twaun Moore has more pivots and floaters than you can shake a stick at - he had 13.
In terms of pure entertainment, the game was a standout, so there’s that to celebrate. And maybe we all care just slightly less about tonight’s result when we saw another Zion Williamson dunk, and news that he had completed 4-on-4 play with no problems. Next: 5-on-5.
Big day for Zion Williamson: he played 4-on-4 w/ several coaches & teammates at the Smoothie King Center this afternoon before the @PelicansNBA started warmups for the Jazz game. All went well, so tomorrow, Zion will go 5-on-5 for the 1st time. Almost time to dance... #WBD #NOLA— Jennifer Hale (@JenHale504) January 7, 2020
Utah stayed hot coming out of a four-point halftime lead, and thanks to Bogdanovic, were able to build a lead they’d hold for most of the 3rd quarter. The guy can give you buckets in any which way.
But so can Redick and Ingram, and when the Pels were down 10 after two techs (one each on Ingram and Hayes), they quickly made up a 10-point deficit after a spectacular rookie hook-up.
A late Ingram three-pointer tied the game, but he and Redick couldn’t cash in in the waning moments... but again, a foul’s a foul!
A few hours before gametime, the Pelicans announced Jrue Holiday would miss the game with an elbow contusion — it seems to be no more than a 1-game absence — and in his place went Josh Hart. Hart would suffer some early foul trouble but play 26 minutes and score eight points. This kept Moore with the bench unit and opened up time for a little Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Frank Jackson sprinkled on top.
Favors vs Gobert
Derrick Favors’s first game against his former team (the game earlier this season saw both bigs inactive) did not produce a massive 19-rebound effort like it did for his opponent, Rudy Gobert. But he had nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, all of which were on Gobert field goal attempts. Gobert is the “better” player, but Favors’ defensive IQ and positioning is always on point. Hey, Gobert is also great down there. He was able to contest without fouling for most of the game; a late Ingram-induced foul on a drive may have been awarded if only because Ingram earlier picked up a T for arguing a non-call in the third quarter.
Of course, that wouldn’t help at all with the last non-call.
Pels fans got used to the likes of Alexander-Walker and Jackson earlier in the year, but time has been diminishing for each of them. NAW hadn’t played more than seven minutes since December 17 and has collected DNP-CDs in four of his last five. Frank hasn’t played more than 10 minutes in a game since December 7.
With Jrue Holiday missing in action — plus foul trouble for Josh Hart — NAW saw 15 minutes of time and shot just five times, although two came right in a row after a loose-ball-offensive-rebound play leading to his one made three. If he’s sharing time with Lonzo, which he did at times tonight, maybe there’s a way to, let’s say, reign in the FGAs for NAW. Especially a ‘Zo this good. Alexander-Walker finished with five points, five rebounds, and two assists.
Frank played 5:26 in 1st half, scoring five points. But he didn’t leave the bench the second half.
Next Game: See you Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls at home!