Any half-lucid NBA fan could have probably predicted that the Pels’ modest two-game win streak had close to no chance of staying intact.
The Jazz were always going to come out like gangbusters after dropping a game to the same 5-16 team on their home floor — and someone has to start double-checking Antonio Daniels’ luggage before departure.
Although he should have packed more than one, Daniels was unable to procure a fresh turtleneck in advance of this contest. Stores that he called in the Salt Lake City region failed to have his size in stock. And apparently the Pelicans do not travel with extra skivvies.
There’s no doubt that AD’s going to be inundated with dozens of new turtlenecks at Christmas from fans far and wide.
Although Devonte’ Graham splashed home the first jumper of the night, the Jazz quickly opened up a 9-4 lead. That soon morphed into a 30-14 deficit for the Pelicans. With 5:01 left in the first half, Utah led New Orleans by a 62-35 advantage.
The reason for the wide chasm so early was that one team had made the majority of their 3-point attempts. The other failed to convert a single three. Care to venture a guess as to which team was New Orleans?
The halftime score stood at 64-45 and the stats painted the bleak but crystal clear picture. The Pelicans missed all 15 of their 3-point attempts. The Jazz made 11 of 19.
New Orleans was outscored by 33 points from the 3-point line in 24 minutes.
The Pelicans never crept any closer than the halftime difference to make things at least semi-interesting in the second half.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker broke the Pelicans 0-fer in the 3-point column by making the first triple on the team’s 21st outside shot attempt with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
The Jazz finished with 20 bombs on 35 attempts. The Pels made 8 of 35 — Jaxson Hayes went 3-3 from deep in garbage time minutes. He had made 1 of 7 on the season prior to tonight.
Hayes was also New Orleans’ leading score with 15 points. No starter played more than 26 minutes, so Jonas Valanciunas (12 points) and Brandon Ingram (11 points) finished well below their normal averages.
Alexander-Walker, Willy Hernangomez and Naji Marshall all finished with 10 points each off the bench. Jose Alvarado tallied five assists in only six minutes of action.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with a line of 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three 3s and two steals in only 27 minutes of action. Mike Conley added 20 points and Jordan Clarkson matchup him off Utah’s bench with 20 of his own.
Up next, the Pelicans fly to Los Angeles to prepare for a Monday night matchup against the Clippers. Remember New Orleans’ 94-81 victory on November 19 where the Clips scored only 26 second-half points? That’ll be another opponent desperately looking for payback.
Let’s hope the Pelicans treat us to a shooting display more akin to NBA standards while the game’s still competitive.