The Utah Jazz continue their four-game road trip with a stop in New Orleans on Monday night. This is the third of four games on their trip outside of Utah. They’ve had a split thus far, with a loss against the Miami Heat, 124-116, and victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday, 124-109. It was a nice response for the Jazz, who were playing on a back-to-back against the Magic.
They were in a tight contest with the Magic in the first-half, as it looked like the Jazz might be in for an upset in Orlando. That was not the case, as the better team pulled away and prevailed for a double-digit win. Keeping close against the Jazz isn’t easy for any team, and it was a difficult chore for Orlando despite their opponent playing the night before. With the win, the Jazz have advanced to 27-7 on the season.
The LA Lakers finally broke through on Sunday for a big win over the Golden State Warriors, but the Jazz still have a firm grasp on the West. Utah goes into their matchup tonight against the Pelicans with a 3.5-game lead on the Lakers, while the Clippers continue to look ordinary. The Clippers failed to score a point in the final four months against the Bucks in Milwaukee last night. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the floor? Yikes.
I don’t know what it’s going to take for the Jazz to earn respect, but it’s unlikely going to happen in the regular season. For the Jazz to get the respect they deserve from the media, it’s likely going to take a deep run in the postseason. Anything less than going to the NBA Finals or at least a minimum of Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals, isn’t going to impress the media or casual fans. That’s completely fine with me, because oddsmakers will react to what the public perceives.
The Pelicans are coming off a 129-125 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks and 117-114 against the San Antonio Spurs. They are trending in the right direction, but still a couple of years away from scaring any teams off. Zion Williamson provides a rock solid foundation for the Pelicans going forward. Put talent around Williamson, and the Pelicans are going to take off. They still need a defense, though, and that’s not close to being rectified at the moment. The Pels go into Monday night with a record of 14-19. Head below for our free Jazz vs. Pelicans pick on March 1, 2021.
Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans NBA Betting Odds:
Jazz vs. Pelicans Prediction:
The Jazz have exactly what the Pelicans need before they begin to show improvement. There is a solid offensive base for the Pelicans to work with, but when they decide to take defensive trips off too, the wins are not going to add up in New Orleans. The Pelicans rank 26th in the NBA with an average of 115.7 points against per game. Their effort doesn’t improve much at home either. They’ve conceded 114.8 points per game in New Orleans for about a point difference.
In their previous five outings, the Pelicans have been hammered for 122.2 points per game. This is unlike the Jazz, who are capable of wearing teams down and winning with defensive intensity. The Jazz are one of the finest defensive teams in the NBA. Anchored by Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have allowed an average of 106.5 points per game. New Orleans is likely going to have their moments tonight. They have a tricky offense to completely neutralize, even for a team like the Jazz.
However, the Jazz own a huge defensive edge on Monday night, and they are fully capable of slicing through a soft defense like the Pelicans. Donovan Mitchell, who put the game on ice against the Magic late, with clutch baskets, has the talent to lead the Jazz with a big offensive showing in this one. Mitchell is up to 24.5 points and 5.3 assists per game, which would be career highs for him. The Jazz are in possession of the most underrated offense in the NBA. I think people are starting to recognize the defense, but the offense deserves a lot of attention as well.
They are scoring at an efficient clip with 116.3 points per contest, good for third. The Jazz can go to work down low with Gobert, or beyond the three-point line, where they are third-best in the NBA at 39.6%. The Jazz have two wins over the Pelicans this season, 129-118 and 118-102. Both in Utah, but they’ve had no problems going to New Orleans, where the Jazz have gone 11-3-1 ATS. Expect the Pels to keep this game close for two or three quarters, but the Jazz should pull away for another comfortable win. A 125-113 win for the Jazz doesn’t seem too out of reach.