Pelicans' Davis could be back against Jazz

By Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange  |  March 10, 2018 at 10:34 PM
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NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans saw their franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak halted Friday night with a 116-97 home loss to the Washington Wizards.

However, All-Star forward Anthony Davis may be back in the starting lineup Sunday afternoon at home against the surging Utah Jazz.

Davis sat out the Pelicans' loss to the Wizards with a sprained left ankle, but went through a limited practice Saturday. He seemed satisfied he could play Sunday against the Jazz, who have won 10 consecutive road games and 17 of their last 19 games overall.

"I did some light stuff today," Davis said after the workout. "Will do some more stuff tomorrow, but it feels a lot better."

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said whether Davis will play will be "a game-time decision."

"He did some things today (in practice)," Gentry said. "Obviously, we'll have to see how he reacts to it. We'll see."

Without Davis, the Pelicans, who put together their best stretch of basketball in seven years, trailed by as many as 25 points late in the third quarter. They missed 12 of 14 3-point attempts in the first three quarters and scored only 62 points.

During their 10-game winning streak, the Pelicans scored at least 114 points in every game.

Gentry laughed Saturday when asked what it was like for the Pelicans to play without Davis in the lineup.

"Just think Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, with him not on the (field)," Gentry said. "I think that would be a good comparison. He opens up the game for everyone, really."

If Davis can't go, the Pelicans (38-27) will have a huge challenge staying with Utah (36-30), which has won its last five games, including a 95-78 defensive effort against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

The Jazz used a 16-2 run to close the first half to pull away. Jae Crowder hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles added 3-pointers of their own to key the surge.

"Not every game is pretty," Utah coach Quin Snyder said. "There were stretches where we weren't playing well offensively, but our defense held strong. If we can do that, we can survive."

The Jazz have won two of three this season against New Orleans, including a 133-109 rout of the Pelicans in New Orleans on Feb. 5 in which Rodney Hood scored 30 points off the bench and center Rudy Gobert scored 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Mitchell, the sensational rookie guard, has been a huge factor for Utah this season. And in a 114-108 victory over New Orleans on Dec. 1, Mitchell scored a career-high 41 points on 13-of-25 shooting, including 6 of 12 from long range.

The Pelicans need Davis in the lineup. In three games against Utah this season, he has averaged 21.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks. Jrue Holiday has also averaged 21.0 points over three games, to go with 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

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