EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Pelicans hit the long ball, Jazz don’t

SUMMARY: Pelicans equal the season series with the Jazz with a 10 point win in Utah behind their star bigs Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
• There a lot of things that can be looked at tonight, but the essence of this game is the Pelicans made their three point shots and the Jazz didn’t. The Pelicans were 14 of 30 from three while the Jazz finished just 7 of 32 from three.

• The Jazz are not defending the three point shot well. This has some variance and luck to it. However, the Jazz came into the game ranked 24th in the league defending the three and they are really struggling defending the above the break three. This was an issue again tonight.

• Some of it however is luck. Rajon Rondo goes 2 for 5, Darius Miller 3 for 5, Dante Cunningham 1 for 2. E’Twaun Moore 2 for 3 and DeMarcus Cousins 2 for 4. All of those are above their season averages.

• The Jazz got a strong offensive performance from Joe Johnson. Johnson hit his first 6 shots of the night and finished with a 9 of 12 shooting night and had 20 points. This was his season high.

• The game swung to the Pelicans at the end of the third quarter when they went on a 11-1 run to close the quarter and take a nine point lead going into the 4th quarter.

• The Pelicans took a higher level of focus on Donovan Mitchell than they did the December 1st meeting. Mitchell couldn’t get to the rim and his outside shot was not falling. He only made 6 of 17 from the field. On the other hand, his aggressiveness allowed him to get to the line 10 times, making 9. He still finished with 24 points on 17 shot attempts which is fabulous.

• Rodney Hood is the Jazz second scorer and tonight he didn’t have it. He was 1 for 10 for 2 points in 33 minutes. Not sure the Jazz can win a game when they get 2 points in 33 minutes from Hood. The defense has a high level of focus on Mitchell right now and Hood needs to find a way to take advantage of that freedom,

• Rodney Hood entered the game shooing 37% at home this season.

• When Rodney Hood shoots below 33% the Jazz are 2-8 on the season. The bigger issue is this has happened 10 times in 29 games.

• Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are unbelievably gifted. The skill set they have with their size are once in a lifetime or once every few generations level of talent.

• These guys are so good that the Pelicans are winning the games they should and they are now 10-4 in games against sub .500 teams. That is going to get them in the playoffs.

• The Jazz offense was the issue tonight with an offensive rating of 100. The defense was average, but I am not sure without Rudy Gobert the Jazz defense is much more than average.

• Donovan Mitchell played 38 minutes tonight, Derrick Favors played 35 minutes.

• The Pelicans were +10 when Anthony Davis was the only big on the floor. They were +6 when both Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were on the floor and they were -6 when Cousins was on the floor.

• This is a tough loss for the Jazz in the playoff picture.