Coming off arguably the worst loss in the NBA this season, the New Orleans Hornets look to rebound against the Utah Jazz, a team they have not had much recent success against.
The Jazz have won 7 of the last 8 meetings between the two teams. New Orleans’ lone win in those games came in 2008.
For the Hornets, it has been a hugely successful start to the season. After an offseason that often looked like they may lose their franchise cornerstone in Chris Paul, New Orleans has the 3rd best record in the NBA. Their 3 game winning streak was snapped in Los Angeles on Monday as the NBA’s worst team, the Clippers, rallied to beat them. Despite the loss, fans haven’t had much to complain about.
Chris Paul has been superb at running the show, like usual. He ranks 2nd in the NBA in assists, and 11th in 3-point field goal percentage. His 48.4 percent showing from deep is easily the best of his career. His supporting cast has been excellent, with David West leading the way. West leads the team with 18.8 points per game while chipping in 6.6 rebounds. First-year Hornet Marco Belinelli is chipping in 12.8 points and 2.0 made threes per contest, and big man Emeka Okafor is averaging his usual double double, checking in at 10.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
The Utah Jazz have had a similarly successful beginning to their season. They enter the game at 10-5, 2nd in the Northwest division behind the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games, highlighted by a 4 game winning streak in which they trailed by double digits in every game. Perhaps the only negative of the 2010 campaign so far is the Jazz’ pedestrian 4-3 home record, after being tied for 5th in the NBA last season at 32-9.
Utah has its own stud point guard: Deron Williams. Williams is having a great year, contributing career highs in points (20.9), and rebounds (4.4) per game. He’s also chipped in 9.7 assists per game for good measure, which is 4th in the NBA. But, what has helped Utah thrive is the lack of drop off in front court production despite losing Carlos Boozer to free agency and Mehmet Okur to injury.
Paul Millsap showed enough in limited playing time last season to convince the Jazz that they did not have to give Carlos Boozer the huge contract he ultimately got from the Chicago Bulls, and he has not disappointed. The 5th year big man from Louisiana Tech, Karl Malone’s alma mater, is averaging 19.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Millsap’s best game came against Miami when he put up a career high 46 points as the Jazz came back from a 22 point deficit to beat the Heat.
The game will start at 9:00 PM Eastern Time at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.