by Daniel Olsen
The Jazz entered this game winless when trailing at the end of three quarters and they nearly pulled off the comeback. However, the attempt came up just short as they fell 124-129 to the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center.
The Jazz trailed 88-99 after three quarters in a contest that traded leads for a majority of the time. With just over five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Pelicans took a lead that they would not relinquish. The Jazz trailed by as much as 14 points with just under four minutes to go but fought back furiously to pull within one point in the final minute.
Bojan Bogdanovic was one player who did not struggle on offense among the Jazz starters. He hit three shots from downtown in the first quarter. He finished the game with 31 points and seven made three-pointers. If the Jazz had won, Bogdanovic would definitely have deserved the game ball.
Rudy Gobert finished just one rebound shy of a double-double and recorded 22 points on the night. He had a monster individual defensive performance as he had five blocks on the night. It didn’t change the fact that the Jazz defense let the Pelicans get some good looks en route to 129 points. The Jazz have allowed just over 120 points per game in their losses. It’s hard for their great shooting to overcome a poor team performance on the defensive end.
Jordan Clarkson did as much as could be asked for a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. He had 20 on the night with three shots from beyond the arc. At least on the offensive end, there are no complaints as it pertains to Clarkson. The Jazz chose to not play him as much down the stretch which may have hurt them. They chose to go with defense which was tough when the Pelicans kept making shots no matter who was in. Once the Jazz came within a possession, Clarkson could have come in to give the Jazz a big shot.
Conley and Mitchell were ok but nowhere near their normal selves. They lead the starting backcourt with a combined 31 points on 33 percent from the field. Mitchell particularly struggled from downtown with just one three-pointer made in eight attempts. He did still get his 21 points with a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe and an exceptional game in the paint.
The Jazz finish the regular season series with a 2-1 advantage over the Pelicans. They will look to finish the first half of the NBA season on a high note when they face the Philadelphia 76ers in their second and final matchup of the regular season. They currently hold a three game lead over the Lakers for the best record in the NBA at 27-8.
• Utah has lost three of their last six games and a break could not be more timely for a franchise playing at this historic pace.
• Clarkson, Bogdanovic, Gobert and O’Neale lead the team with all 35 games played this season.
• Mitchell scored more points against the Pelicans this season than any other Jazz player with 85 points in the series.
• The Jazz were out-rebounded 53-39 in this loss. In their last three losses, they have given up over 50 points in each of those games.
• The Jazz have started the month of March without a win. In every other month this season, the Jazz have won their first game of each month.
• Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram both scored 26 points against the Jazz. In their last loss, the Jazz also gave up 52 points to the dynamic duo of Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
• While Lamelo Ball had more points in a game (34) this season vs the Jazz, his brother Lonzo was the only Ball brother to defeat the Jazz and also had an impressive stat line of 23 points 7 rebounds and 8 assists.
Featured image courtesy Gerald Herbert, Associated Press