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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Pelicans peck away in the Paint in comeback win over Utah Jazz

David Locke

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SUMMARY: The Utah Jazz 4 game win streak comes to an end when the Pesky Pelicans went on a 22-2 run in the 4th quarter to win it 115-112
• The Utah Jazz lead the entire game and were ahead 103-89 with 8:10 left in the game and then the Pelicans went on a 22-2 run.

• The Jazz defensive game plan was built to contain the Pelicans and keep them out of the paint. It didn’t happen the Pelicans took 64 shots in the paint tonight.

• The Jazz offense went from the 8:10 mark of the 4th quarter to the 1:41 mark of the 4th without a field goal. Prior to that the Jazz offense was humming. They had 35 assists on the night. They hit on 14 three point shots. The free throw line is a place where the Jazz have been getting a lot of their points and tonight the Pelicans only allowed the Jazz to get to the line 14 times.

• The Pelicans deserve a lot of credit. They have won three straight games all of the road and all of which they trailed by considerable amounts and fought their way back to win. They trailed by 19 to both the Suns and the Nuggets and 17 tonight. This win might be the most impressive. They already had two wins notched on the trip. They were down 14 with 8:10 left and they could have very easily called it good. Instead, they kept charging and won the game.

• All of this analysis would feel different if Joe Ingles had been able to hold onto a defensive rebound. The Jazz got a stop leading by 1 with 29.4 seconds left but Ingles wasn’t able to control the ball as he turned out of traffic and Elfrid Payton ripped the ball away from Ingles and then corkscrewed a layup over Gobert for the game winner.

• The Jazz stars had been amazing to seemingly win the game for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert had three incredible defensive stops late in the game defending Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday. Donovan Mitchell went in the open court to create offense and brought the Jazz back from down 111-105 to a lead it 112-111 with :43 seconds left.

• That is when Holiday continued his miserable season in the clutch (13 of 52 shooting) and missed with 29 seconds left and the Pelicans stole the rebound.

• That one play changes the narrative from a 5 game win streak and remarkable resiliency and guile. Instead it is a bad loss to the Pelicans making the chances for home court very difficult.

• Since these teams play again on Wednesday the question is whether the Jazz can alter the defensive game plan and find away to keep the Pelicans out of the paint. The Pelicans lead the NBA in points in the paint so they are not the first team that has had this issue.

• This is the first game the Jazz have lost when Kyle Korver had more than 2 three pointers. Korver and Crowder were great off the bench. Both had 20 points and were a combined 9 of 18 from three.

• The Jazz starters looked all night like they had been thru an emotional week and the play of Korver and Crowder was propping them up. With that said, Rudy came to have a bounce back night and had 19 points and 19 rebounds and Favors and Ingles combined for 5 minutes of offensive magic but overall the group didn’t have its usual fire.

• Losses are hard this time of year. Before the night started I projected the Jazz would need to go 17-3 to be certain of home court advantage. 16-4 could get it done but might be a three way tie. This was one that needed to be in the win column for that to happen.

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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