Pelicans.com postgame: Jazz 111, Pelicans 105
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
SALT LAKE CITY – Throughout the New Orleans Pelicans’ up-and-down start to the regular season, Monty Williams has often preached the importance of playing well for the entire 48 minutes, not 36 or 24. The Pelicans’ inability to put together a tip-to-buzzer performance hurt them in previous losses to Indiana and Phoenix. On Wednesday, the Utah Jazz capitalized on a Pelicans showing that was less than complete, coming from behind to earn itsfirst win of the 2013-14 season. Utah was the league’s last winless team.
New Orleans (3-6) looked to be in optimum position to end its road-trip losing streak for most of Wednesday’s game, after going up 55-45 at halftime and leading by as many as 16 points in the third quarter. Utah (1-8) methodically chipped away at its deficit, though, finally overtaking New Orleans in the final minutes. Derrick Favors converted on a crucial layup to help secure the Jazz’s victory, making it 105-100 with 22 seconds left. Utah tacked on free throws to seal the outcome.
“For us, we’ve got to learn how to win these games on the road or anywhere,” Williams said. “When you have a team down by 14, possessions are so important. Some of the costly turnovers we had (and) we missed a bunch of shots. We just gave up 38 points (in the fourth quarter). That’s on me. The bottom line is we have to play defense a lot better than we’ve played.”
Utah appeared on its way to a ninth consecutive loss after quickly falling behind to New Orleans. The Jazz eventually caught the Pelicans on the scoreboard at 70 apiece late in the third quarter, when Gordon Hayward drained a three-pointer. After falling behind again, the Jazz finally took a second-half lead when Hayward canned another trey with 5:15 left, putting the hosts in front 92-91. Utah scored seven of the game’s final 10 points, turning a narrow 101-100 edge into a six-point final margin. The Jazz outscored the Pelicans 38-28 in the final period.
Though the Pelicans’ defense surrendered far too many points down the stretch, Williams also pointed to the other end of the floor, where perimeter misses sometimes ignited the Jazz’s transition attack and led to easier baskets than earlier in the night.
“I thought we settled for too many jump shots, outside of Tyreke (Evans) and Jrue (Holiday),” Williams said. “Everybody else was just jacking up jump shots. On the road, that’s tough, especially here, because when that ball bounces, it bounces long. It fueled their fast break.”
Anthony Davis (29 points, 15 rebounds, including six offensive boards) paced a New Orleans team that went 0-3 on its West Coast road trip. The Pelicans will have a much-welcomed home game Saturday vs. Philadelphia, followed by New Orleans Arena tilts next week vs. Utah and Cleveland.
Holiday, who will face his former 76ers teammates for the first time Saturday, joined Evans in scoring 19 points Wednesday. Offense wasn't the problem for New Orleans, though, as it gave up 110-plus points for the second night in a row.