Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged before Saturday’s game that superstar forward Anthony Davis was questionable to play against the Jazz with “an elbow thing.”
“Elbow thing” was later officially upgraded to “right elbow strain,” and Davis was indeed officially ruled out about 45 minutes before game time.
A pity for anyone wanting to see one of the best players in the NBA, but a definite boon to Utah’s chances.
Davis, after all, is averaging 27.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.8 blocks and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range (ableit on fewer than two attempts per game).
Jazz big man Derrick Favors, speaking before Davis had been ruled out, said you can’t really hope to ever stop Davis completely. All you can do is make him work for what he gets.
“You know what to expect from him, with him coming in with all kinds of big numbers,” Favors said. “So you just got to try to make it tough for him. Try to make it difficult for him to be productive, because you know he’s gonna put up numbers.”
Fortuitously for Utah on Saturday, that wasn’t the case.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder was asked about having to adapt to New Orleans’ fast-paced attack, and while he conceded that “Their style is unique to them,” he also went on to note that is true of just about every team.
Not that he was being snarky. He said it’s actually a good thing for his players in the long run that they’ve already been exposed at this early juncture to markedly variant scenarios and situations.
“Our team has had some very different types of games. Hopefully we’re learning from every one of them,” Snyder said. “If that’s your emphasis and that’s your focus, hopefully that’s where you see that kind of progress. That’s what we’re striving for.”
Coincidentally, while Snyder praised the Pelicans for their ball movement, noting that “they’re unselfish” and “the ball moves,” and pointing out that the team’s usual starting lineup has five players who can dribble it, Gentry actually said his team had regressed in that area and needed to refocus its emphasis there.
The Jazz doubled up the Pelicans in assists in the first half.