The Utah Jazz are among the best defensive teams in the NBA.
But they have shown they can lean on their offense when they need to as they prepare to visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
When they hosted the Pelicans on Nov. 23, two-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was sidelined by a sprained ankle, so the Jazz scored a season-high in points in a 128-120 victory.
Donovan Mitchell had a season-high 37 in that game, and he had 32 in a 109-96 win versus Orlando on Saturday. After making eight 3-pointers through the first three quarters, they made the same number in the fourth quarter.
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“I told the team,” coach Quin Snyder said, “if the defense is solid, you give yourself a chance and eventually guys will get going.”
The guy most responsible for getting the offense going is point guard Mike Conley, but he has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. In his absence, Joe Ingles has been filling that role, helping the Jazz win five in a row and 10 of their past 11 matches.
“I think I’d rather have assists than points to be honest with you,” Ingles said. “I couldn’t care less about scoring. I feel like my role on the team is to get other guys involved.
“My only focus going in is defensively who I’m matched up on and trying to get all these guys easy shots. The more I can do to get them easy looks or easy shots, that’s what I’m out there to do.”
The Pelicans have won five of their last six matches after splitting a set of back-to-back games in California.
They lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 123-113 on Friday before getting a last-second 117-115 triumph against the Sacramento Kings the following night.
Rookie Zion Williamson participated in his first full practice before the Pelicans left for their brief road trip, though New Orleans has not set a date for his return from arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 21.
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