Monday night's game between the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans was their 2nd in 3 nights, and a chance to get only their 2nd winning streak of the season, after pulling out a 105-100 win on Saturday night.
The Jazz welcomed back Jordan Clarkson, who had sat out the prior game due to illness. They were still without Lauri Markkanen due to a strained left hamstring, while the Pelicans returned Zion Williamson, and were still without guard CJ McCollum.
This time, the game was back and forth, with good passing and not a lot of turnovers (10). Zion Williamson was as advertised, with 26 points, and Brandon Ingram provided 25 for the Pelicans. The Jazz did well in the first half, gave up a lot in the 3rd quarter, but pulled out a gritty 114-112 win in the end.
A few thoughts:
Rookie Keyonte George had a career high 19 points to lead the Jazz in scoring tonight, along with 5 boards and 2 steals. He led 7 Jazz players in double figures. Keyonte was much more assertive with his shooting tonight as compared to during the losing streak.
Walker Kessler and Omer Yurtseven again made a strong tandem at center for the Utah Jazz, combining for 21 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocked shots. While Kessler will likely reclaim his starting spot soon, it's been a nice approach that is giving opponents pause when going toward the rim.
Better defense and a fighting mentality for rebounds and loose balls made this a fun game to watch, and more rewarding when the Jazz got the win.
The Jazz, now 6-11 on the season, head out on the road to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, then hop to Minnesota for a Thursday game, then are home against Portland on Saturday. They then have an 8-game layoff while the NBA's In-Season Tournament concludes, in which they will likely get Lauri Markkanen back and healthy. Let's hope this 2 game-win streak is a sign of things to come.