The NBA is set up with a solid night of action on Thursday night. Three games are up on the board throughout January 21. One of these games will be between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Utah Jazz. These two teams have had solid starts to the season and will look to earn a big win as they meet up in the second half of a back to back. This game will tip off at around 10:00 PM Eastern time on TNT.
New Orleans has earned a record of 5-8 throughout the early portion of this season, which has them sitting in twelfth place of the Western Conference. The Pelicans are coming off a loss in their last game and have lost six of their last seven games. New Orleans will look to get back in the win column in this one as they try to end the losing skid.
The Jazz have posted a record of 10-4 so far this season, which has earned them the second seed in the Western Conference. Utah is coming off six straight wins, including a victory over this Pelicans team on Tuesday night. The Jazz will look to keep it going as they face off against New Orleans again in this one. Utah has been dangerous through the early part of this season and will look to keep moving up.
These two teams are in opposite sides of the standings so far this season, but there is still plenty of time for things to turn around this season. Utah has come out of the gates swinging after a first round exit last season. The Pelicans looked to turn a new page as this season opened, but have struggled to get things going early. I expect a good game though as these two teams meet for the second time in two nights.
The Pelicans and the Jazz met up four times throughout last season. The first meeting was in Utah on November 23. Donovan Mitchell dropped 37 points to lead the Jazz to a 128-120 win. The second meeting shifted to New Orleans, where Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 35 points to help lead Utah to a 128-126 win on the road.
The third game of the season series stayed in New Orleans on January 16. Donovan Mitchell put up 46 points, but it was not enough this time. Brandon Ingram dropped 49 points as the Pelicans earned a 138-132 win in overtime. The final game of the season series was in the qualifiers, where Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points off the bench. Mike Conley and Mitchell both added 20 points as the Jazz won 106-104.
The first game of this seasons series was on January 19 in Utah. Zion Williamson finished with 32 points, while Brandon Ingram put up 17 points. It was not enough for the Pelicans though. Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points and Jordan Clarkson added 18 points off the bench. Joe Ingles added 15 points off the bench to help propel the Jazz to a 118-102 win at home.
These two teams have met up five times throughout this season and last. Utah has been able to win four of those five games, with their only loss coming in overtime. New Orleans only had two players get in the double digits with points in Tuesday’s loss and will need players to step up as they enter the rematch on Thursday night.
Field Goal Shooting
New Orleans has not been great shooting the ball throughout this season. The Pelicans have been able to make around 46.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is 15th in the NBA. New Orleans is shooting 32.7 percent from deep, which is 29th in the league. The Pelicans have also made 53.8 percent of their shots from inside the arc, which is 12th in the NBA.
The Jazz have been a bit better shooting the ball so far this season. Utah is making around 46.5 percent of their shots from the field, which is 14th in the league. The Jazz have also shot 40.1 percent from behind the arc, which is 6th in the NBA. Utah has made 52.1 percent of their shots in close, which is 17th in the league.
Utah has been better shooting the ball this season, especially from behind the arc. The Jazz have also had the better defense this season. Utah has held opposing teams to a field goal percentage of 43.7 percent, which is 4th in the NBA. New Orleans needs to get going early in this one if they want to knock off the Jazz’s defense.
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been the leaders for this New Orleans team this season. Williamson is averaging 23.5 points and 8 rebounds per game. Ingram has averaged 23 points per game. Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe are both averaging around 12 points per game, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker has averaged 11 points per game. Steven Adams is averaging 10 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Donovan Mitchell has been the leader for this Jazz team so far. Mitchell has averaged around 23.5 points per game. Jordan Clarkson is averaging 27.5 points per game off the bench. Mike Conly has averaged 16 points and 6.5 assists per game, while Bojan Bogdanovic is averaging 13.5 points per game. Rudy Gobert has averaged 12 points and 13.5 points per game. Joe Ingles is averaging 10.5 points per game off the bench as well.
These two teams have been led by their leaders early in this season. Williamson had a good performance in the first meeting of the season, but Ingram struggled. The Pelicans will look for Ingram to bounce back with a better performance in this one. If New Orleans can come out better with their depth players, it could help them break through.
The Pelicans are coming into this one on a losing streak, while Utah has hit a nice winning streak. I think these two streaks can come to an end in this one though. New Orleans lost to the Jazz in the last meeting, but I expect them to change things up coming into this one. If the Pelicans can break through offensively, it should be enough for the Pelicans to earn the win.
BetOnline has Utah listed as a -265 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Jazz will win this game around 72.6 percent of the time. New Orleans has not looked great throughout this season, but I do not think that they should be this big of an underdog. I like the Pelicans to come out hot in this one and as big underdogs, I think they have a lot of value on Thursday night.