Pelicans-Jazz Preview

BY foxsports • December 15, 2015

The Utah Jazz have struggled to get into a groove since last month's decisive victory over the New Orleans Pelicans and are entering the next matchup on the verge of a season-high skid.

Another visit from one of the NBA's worst road teams might allow them to avoid that Wednesday night.

Utah (10-13) took advantage of short-handed New Orleans in a 101-87 victory Nov. 28. Among the missing for the Pelicans (6-18) were Norris Cole, Tyreke Evans and Kendrick Perkins.

The Jazz have dropped six of eight since, and a 118-81 drubbing in San Antonio on Monday was their third consecutive loss. Utah had its fewest points this season and shot 40.5 percent in the second of back-to-back games, while the Spurs' 56.0 percent shooting was the best mark by a Jazz opponent.

"The sky kind of fell, but it happens," coach Quin Snyder said. "We had no juice, but that's the wrong team to play when you're out of gas. Their defense is terrific and they are a championship-level program."

The Jazz will seek their third win in four home games while trying to avoid their first four-game skid since March 21-27. In the opener of a three-game homestand, they'll face a Pelicans team that's 1-12 on the road even with a healthier lineup.

Evans and Cole have played in all seven games this month. Perkins appeared in his first game since Oct. 31 in a 98-94 loss to Chicago on Saturday, the start of a five-game road trip, but sat out a 105-101 defeat to Portland on Monday.

New Orleans couldn't maintain a 14-point lead against the Bulls and failed to get closer than four points after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter versus the Trail Blazers.

"(The mistakes) we made are the ones we've been talking about for the last month. Until we get that get cured, we're not going to win a game. We're not going to be able to beat teams when we do silly things," coach Alvin Gentry said. "We're playing hard and competing like crazy. But it takes more than that to win games. You've got to play smart basketball."

Anthony Davis' 28 points against Portland were his most in his last four games. Evans had 19 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Evans is averaging 22.7 points in his last three games and 18.5 in his past two against Utah.

Davis had 36 points in last month's meeting and is averaging 36.7 on 71.4 percent shooting in his last three matchups.

He scored a career-high 43 in Utah on Nov. 22, 2014, and has matched that performance two times.

Utah's Gordon Hayward is averaging 23.2 points in his last six meetings with New Orleans and 23.8 in the last five at home.

He was held to a season-low four points on 1-of-5 shooting in San Antonio. Hayward was averaging 22.6 points while shooting 54.0 percent from 3-point range in his previous nine games.

Utah has won 14 of the past 17 home matchups with New Orleans and is seeking its third consecutive overall win in the series.