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Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans Game Preview and Prediction

The Western Conference foes will meet at the Smoothie King Center on Wednesday when the Utah Jazz take on the New Orleans Pelicans, hoping to return to the winning ways after their four-game winning run was snapped by the Pelicans, while the hosts are looking to get their fourth consecutive victory and keep their playoff hopes alive. Utah has been a better rival when it comes to the recent H2H duels as they won eight of the last ten meetings but New Orleans got revenge for the loss in the opening game of this season series with a win in Salt Lake City, a couple of days ago. NBA: Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, 8:00 PM ET

 

Utah Jazz dropped a win in a close encounter with the Pels

Utah was in a fine form of four wins in a row but the New Orleans Pelicans prevented them from getting the fifth consecutive victory, handing the Jazz the first home loss in six games. The Jazz dropped to the 36-27 record and are currently sitting in the 6th position in the Western Conference with eight wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors, six wins behind the Northwest Division rivals Denver Nuggets, and six wins ahead of their next opponents New Orleans Pelicans. Utah is on a good course to make it to the playoffs and although it’s going to be hard to get into the top four teams in the conference, the Jazz should be between the 6th and the 8th place.

Jae Crowder led the Jazz in a 115-112 loss to the Pelicans with 20 points and six rebounds off the bench; Kyle Korver also had 20 points with four boards, Rudy Gobert posted a double-double of 19 points and game-high 19 rebounds, along with a pair of blocks, Donovan Mitchell contributed with 19 points and nine dimes, while Derrick Favors finished the tilt with 16 points, four rebounds, and two rejections. Utah controlled the game throughout the first three quarters but New Orleans displayed excellent offensive performance in the final 12 minutes to get a comeback win. The Jazz were careless with the ball in possession as they gave it away on 18 occasions in opposite to the Pelicans’ eight turnovers.

Dante Exum (left ankle) is set to be re-evaluated on Friday and will miss the clash with the Pelicans on Wednesday.

The Jazz have the 20th offense in the NBA that averages 110.2 points per contest, while their defense is in top 10 in the league as it allows 106.8 points per game (6th). Utah’s rebounding is also in top 10 as they are recording 45.9 boards per game (10th), while they are slightly worse when it comes to assists per contest with 25.2 dishes a night (12th). Utah is 15th in field goal percentage as they have 46.1 percent from the floor and 19th from downtown with 34.9 percentage, while they are 9th in the NBA with 11.8 three-pointers made per game.

New Orleans Pelicans are looking for back-to-back wins over Utah

New Orleans lost to the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers but managed to bounce back and connect for three wins over the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and most recently, the Utah Jazz. The Pelicans now improved to the 30-36 record and are in the 12th place in the Western Conference with 14 wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors, six wins behind their next rivals Utah Jazz, and six wins behind the San Antonio Spurs who are currently sitting in the 8th position in the standings. New Orleans is still fighting to reach the playoffs and they would still have a chance with a potential victory here but they must win at least 12 out of their remaining 16 games to be in the playoff contention.

Julius Randle led the Pelicans in a 115-112 win over the Jazz with 30 points (10-23 FG, 10-12 FT), eight rebounds, five assists, and a couple of steals; Jrue Holiday also had 30 points (12-23 FG, 4-7 3PT) and four dimes, while Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 15 points and team-high 11 boards, along with game-high three thefts and game-high three blocks. Although they hit only nine triples in opposite to Utah’s 14 and recorded 11 assists fewer than the hosts, the Pelicans had 12 steals in opposite to the Jazz’s three and committed ten turnovers fewer than Utah (8-18).

Jahlil Okafor (sprained left ankle) didn’t play against the Jazz on Monday, so his minutes will be shared between Randle, Davis, and Cheick Diallo.

The Pelicans have the top 5 offense in the NBA that averages 116.0 points per contest (3rd), while their defense is the 26th in the league as it allows 115.0 points per game. New Orleans’ rebounding is in top 5 as they are recording 47.1 boards per game (4th), while they are also among the best teams when it comes to assists per contest with 27.0 dishes a night (4th). New Orleans is 3rd in field goal percentage as they have 47.8 percent from the floor and 22nd from downtown with 34.8 percentage, while they are 22nd in the NBA with 10.0 three-pointers made per game.

Trends:

Utah:

  • 80-82-4 ATS in the last 166 conference games
  • 45-46-2 ATS in the last 93 games as an underdog
  • 33-37-2 ATS in the last 72 games as an away underdog

New Orleans:

  • 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall
  • 6-1 ATS in their last seven when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
  • 8-1 ATS in their last nine games vs. an opponent with a winning straight up record
  • 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. Western Conference rivals
  • 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. NBA Northwest rivals

The Winner Prediction

Utah Jazz won eight out of the previous ten H2H encounters including three of the last four, while the Jazz were victorious in the past five meetings at the Smoothie King Center. The tradition is entirely on Utah’s side as the Jazz are 7-2-1 ATS in the last ten duels; they are 9-1-1 ATS in the previous 11 meetings in New Orleans, while the road team is 5-0 ATS in the last five clashes. However, the Pelicans showed they can beat Utah a couple of days ago and considering that they are desperate to extend their winning run in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, I am backing them to get a victory here. It’s going to be an interesting duel between one of the best offenses and one of the strongest defenses but I am backing the Pels to prevail in this one.

The Pick: New Orleans Pelicans +4.5 (-110)

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