Date & Time: Thursday, 30th July 2020, 6:30 PM ET (Friday 4:00 AM IST)
Venue: HP Field House (WWOS), Orlando, FL
The Utah Jazz were slated to play in the NBA game whose postponement eventually led to the NBA suspension. The New Orleans Pelicans featured in the 2019-20 NBA season opener. So it makes sense that the first game of the NBA restart is being played between these two franchises.
Utah Jazz Preview
The currently fourth-seeded Utah Jazz had two big questions to answer entering the NBA bubble. They still need to find someone to step up in the absence of the injured Bojan Bogdanovic. However, if you too were wondering whether Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell can play together with chemistry, the answer is yes.
The duo has played well together in Orlando and Rudy Gobert, in particular, has looked good on the back of consecutive 20-point games. Donovan Mitchell has blown hot and cold, but that can be blamed on the rotations that the Utah Jazz ran in the scrimmage games.
Key Player - Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert was chastised as the villain behind the NBA suspension but now looks hungrier than ever. Averaging 15.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per game this season, Gobert's defense will come in handy for the Utah Jazz against the New Orleans Pelicans, especially if Zion Williamson plays extended minutes.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Royce O'Neale, Rudy Gobert.
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans seem like the team to beat in Orlando after having recorded a blow out win in all three of their scrimmage games. Sitting in 10th with a 28-36 record, the task is cut out for Alvin Gentry's men who need to make the most of their easy schedule in the seeding games, starting with the Utah Jazz.
Zion Williamson is still doubtful for the game but he did take part in the New Orleans Pelicans' practice on Wednesday. However, given how careful the franchise has been with him, expect Zion to be on a minutes' restriction if he plays at all.
Key Player - JJ Redick
JJ Redick has scored a combined 43 points in the two games he's played against the Utah Jazz this season. Due to Rudy Gobert's interior presence, there's a good chance that the New Orleans Pelicans resort to a lot of perimeter and mid-range shooting and Redick will be key in that aspect. His 20-point performance against Milwaukee Bucks will give the veteran sharpshooter the needed confidence for this game.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors
Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Pelicans Match Prediction
Things seem very close on paper and it could very well come down to which team plays better defense. Both Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans have been good going forward but the latter takes the cake as far as all-round ability based on current form is concerned.
The tie tips further in the favor of Alvin Gentry's men if Zion Williamson gets quality minutes so the New Orleans Pelicans should win this.
Where to watch Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Pelicans
Local coverage of the game can be seen on AT&T Sportsnet and FOX Sports New Orleans. The matchup will be featured nationwide in the US on TNT. The game will be telecasted on Sony Six in India. You can also live stream the fixture via NBA League Pass.
Published 30 Jul 2020, 02:20 IST