NBA: Healthy Jazz romp past Zion Williamson, Pelicans
Zion Williamson scored a game-high 26 points, but the Utah Jazz used a balanced effort to snap the visiting New Orleans Pelicans’ seven-game winning streak with a 121-100 blowout victory Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz, who had lost eight of 11 games, benefited from having a near-healthy roster for the first time in a while and picked up one of their most impressive wins of the season.
Malik Beasley led Utah with 21 points off the bench, while three of his teammates registered double-doubles. Lauri Markkanen returned from an illness to total 19 points and 11 rebounds; Jarred Vanderbilt amassed 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists; and Walker Kessler hauled in 16 rebounds with 11 points and three blocked shots.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 19 points and six assists, while Jordan Clarkson scored 11 with a couple of highlight-reel layups and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 14, 2022
Utah, which limited the Pelicans to 39.8 percent shooting overall and 14.8 percent from 3-point territory, hosts New Orleans on Thursday for a quick-turnaround rematch.
The momentum shifted for good in the second quarter when Williamson picked up his third foul and went to the bench for the rest of the half.
The Pelicans only hit 3 of 17 shots to close the half, while the Jazz used a 7-0 run to seize the lead. Utah led 52-45 at halftime.
Utah pulled ahead by 13 early in the third quarter, when the Pelicans trimmed that down to seven with six straight points. The Jazz responded, quickly rebuilding their double-digit advantage.
Clarkson beat the third-quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 run that put the Jazz up 91-71.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 15 points with six rebounds and CJ McCollum added 14 points and six boards as the Pelicans lost for the first time since falling at Memphis, 132-111, on Nov. 25. New Orleans has still won 12 of its last 15 games.
This was Utah’s 13th win against an above-.500 team, according to the team’s radio broadcast.