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Instant analysis: Utah Jazz earn 7th straight win with victory over New Orleans Pelicans

SHARE Instant analysis: Utah Jazz earn 7th straight win with victory over New Orleans Pelicans

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and forward Royce O’Neale (23) try to stop New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (6) at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday Jan. 21, 2021.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz won their seventh straight on Thursday with a 129-118 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, the second meeting between the two teams in three days.

High notes

  • This is the kind of game that has to give the Jazz confidence moving forward. The Pelicans are objectively not as good as the Jazz, but you’re always going to have off moments in the NBA and there are great players on not so great teams that can get hot. Refocusing and being able to withstand and come back from those moments within the course of a single game is invaluable. The Jazz were down by 16 at one point and were able to battle back with some incredible defense and ended up with two straight wins against New Orleans.

“We remember the start of the year, like we kind of came out flat in certain games like this. If teams hit us first we didn’t have a push back. This was kind of Minnesota, you know, when Minnesota went up 15. [New Orleans] came out ready to go and we still stayed through. That’s really where it’s at.” — Donovan Mitchell

  • Donovan Mitchell made his first six 3-point attempts, was cutting and passing, breaking ankles off the dribble and was locked in on the defensive end. He was not going to be denied. He finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

  • Mike Conley’s defense on Lonzo Ball in the third quarter had the 23-year-old Ball looking absolutely exasperated and frustrated. I had to take a second to look up how old Mike Conley is. He’s 33 and he’s still as pesky as they come.
  • Conley is just incredible this season.

“He’s finding his spots, being able to be aggressive, making the right reads...he was great in the bubble and now he’s been playing great for us.” — Rudy Gobert on Mike Conley

  • There is a certain level of complaining after fouls, no-calls and out of bounds decisions that can get super annoying. Here are two examples of complaining that I fully support:
  1. If Joe Ingles drives in against a defender, he is very often called for an offensive foul and just walks away while staring at the official with a cheeky smirk on his face. On Thursday, the call actually was in Ingles’ favor but the official called the blocking foul as before the shot. Rather than be happy about finally getting a blocking foul called on his opponent, he complained like he was robbed to the highest degree. Go after it, Jingles. I approve.
  2. Royce O’Neale sprinted into the Pelicans passing lane and got a steal but as he was trying to slow himself down he very clearly popped his foot out of bounds right in front of the official. He quickly pulled his foot back in and then tried to argue that he didn’t go out of bounds. It was hilarious and I enjoyed it.

Low notes

  • There were at least two possessions in the first quarter when Bojan Bogdanovic had to be directed to his man on defense or was late rotating after Mitchell recovered from doubling Zion Williamson, and it led to two open looks for the Pelicans. Then he failed to look up court after a rebound so he missed Mike Conley breaking to the other end. Mitchell sent the full-court pass down to Conley after getting the outlet from Bogdanovic but it was just a second too late and turned into a turnover, which wouldn’t have happened had Bogdanovic looked up court rather than behind him.
  • Georges Niang had three fouls before he’d logged four minutes on the court. Not ideal.
  • I said this after the Tuesday game, but it’s definitely worth saying again. The Pelicans’ defense is not good and it’s really not good when Williamson is on the floor. He’s such a liability in so many situations, especially when he’s caught on a switch against anyone who can dribble the ball or shoot from deep.

Flat notes

  • Stan Van Gundy was so ticked off that he was assessed two technical fouls and ejected before the fourth quarter. I think that there are definitely times when coaches can use that frustration and energy and even getting ejected to fuel their team, but Van Gundy seemed like he was more mad at the officials than anything and it didn’t seem like his team gained anything or stopped being sloppy after he left. There was no spark.
  • Brandon Ingram was 6 of 6 from the field and had 16 points in the first quarter. He clearly came out with some aggression after having a bit of an off night on Tuesday. The problem is that Royce O’Neale started guarding him closer and the Pelicans’ spacing is so bad that it’s hard for them to open another avenue if they’re even slightly pressed on the perimeter. He scored just seven points through the rest of the night.