"Never Doubt Our Team's Intent" | Reinforcements Arrive As Utah Hosts First-Place Pelicans

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

The last time Utah and New Orleans met in the third game of the season, it came down to the final shot — literally. 

Kelly Olynyk executed Utah’s final play to perfection after he flipped in a layup with 3.1 seconds left as the Jazz prevailed 122-121 in overtime. 

If Tuesday’s rematch is anything like the first meeting, Jazz Nation and those in attendance at Vivint Arena are in for a show. Utah hosts New Orleans at 7 p.m. MT.

After a recent five-game losing streak in which the Jazz were shorthanded, they rebounded to win three of four — but have recently lost back-to-back games against Minnesota and Denver. Utah was still shorthanded in those losses as Lauri Markkanen missed both games due to illness, while Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson missed Saturday for various reasons. 

Even without those three, Utah played its heart out and nearly shocked the NBA by taking Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Despite holding the lead in the fourth quarter, the Jazz ran out of legs in the end before falling by five. 

“I thought they (Jazz) played really hard. … Honestly, I thought they (Jazz) deserved to win the game,” head coach Will Hardy said postgame. “Just really proud of the way our guys battled all night long. … I thought they executed on both ends of the court. I never doubt our team’s intent to play together.”

The good news is that all three players have been cleared to return and should be back in the starting lineup on Tuesday. It’s a massive boost for a Jazz team searching for some consistency after going through one of the most difficult opening schedules for any team. 

Markkanen and Clarkson lead the team in scoring by combining to average over 40 points per game, while Conley leads the team in assists at 7.8 per game. 

All three players will need to play some of their best basketball of the season if they’re going to take down the turning Pelicans. 

The hottest team in the NBA, New Orleans has won seven in a row and 12 of 14 overall. Zion Williamson, finally healthy, has officially submitted his name to the MVP conversation. 

Utah (15-14, 9-5 home / No. 9 Western Conference)
*117.3 Points Per Game (No. 5 in NBA)
*115.9 Offensive Rating (No. 4 in NBA)
*115.9 Points Per Game (No. 21 in NBA)
*114.1 Defensive Rating (No. 24 in NBA)

*Lauri Markkanen: 22.2 points | 8.5 rebounds | 2.2 assists | 41.3% 3P-shooting
*Jordan Clarkson: 19.8 points | 4.9 assists | 3.9 rebounds | 33.8% 3P-shooting
*Malik Beasley: 14.0 points | 3.9 rebounds | 39.0% 3P-shooting
*Mike Conley: 10.6 points | 7.8 assists | 38.9% 3P-shooting

New Orleans (18-8, 6-5 away / No. 1 Western Conference)

*117.6 Points Per Game (No. 3 in NBA)
*115.3 Offensive Rating (No. 5 in NBA)
*110.6 Points Per Game (No. 8 in NBA)
*108.4 Defensive Rating (No. 3 in NBA)

*Zion Williamson: 25.0 points | 7.2 rebounds | 4.2 assists | 35.7% 3P-shooting
*CJ McCollum: 17.85 points | 5.9 assists | 4.9 rebounds
*Jonas Valanciunas: 13.2 points | 9.2 rebounds | 36.6% 3P-shooting

*Lauri Markkanen vs. Zion Williamson
— While neither player is expected to defend each other often, the showdown between Markkanen and Williamson is expected to garner a lot of attention as they’re battling for a spot in the All-Star game. Markkanen is expected to return after a two-game absence in which he was battling an illness — but he’s been dominant for the Jazz this season. Williamson is finally healthy and playing like it, averaging 31.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his last six games.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on October 23, 2022 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)


OUT | Simone Fontecchio (left ankle sprain)
OUT | Collin Sexton (right hamstring strain)
OUT | Johnny Juzang (G League - Two-Way)
OUT | Micah Potter (G League - Two-Way)
New Orleans
PROBABLE | Herbert Jones (left ankle sprain)
OUT | Brandon Ingram (left great toe contusion)
OUT | E.J. Liddell (right knee ACL injury recovery)
OUT | Dereon Seabron (G League - Two-Way)

 7:00 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Arena/ Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: The KSL Sports Zone