Jazz deal Pelicans first loss as injured Davis sits

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Oct 28 2018 09:59 AM

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) shoots against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Ricky Rubio scored 28 points as the visiting Utah Jazz took advantage of the absence of All-NBA forward Anthony Davis to hand the New Orleans Pelicans their first defeat of the season, 132-111, on Saturday night.

Davis, who averaged 27.3 points and 13.3 rebounds during the Pelicans' 4-0 start, did not play because of a right elbow strain sustained a night earlier in a victory against Brooklyn.

Without Davis, New Orleans was unable to find the offensive rhythm that it had in averaging an NBA-best 128.3 points with Davis, and it could not slow down the Jazz either.

Rubio added 12 assists and six rebounds, Rudy Gobert had 25 points and 14 rebounds, Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points, Dante Exum added 11 off the bench and Derrick Favors had 10.

Nikola Mirotic led the Pelicans with 25 points and eight rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 18, Julius Randle had 12 and Frank Jackson and Jahlil Okafor, seeing their first extended playing time of the season, had 14 and 11, respectively, off the bench.

The Jazz led 64-49 at halftime and kept rolling at the start of the third quarter. Mitchell made a 3-pointer to start the scoring in the period and Utah quickly built a 20-point margin.

The lead grew to 28 before the Jazz took a 102-82 lead after three quarters as both coaches gave their starters significant rest.

The Pelicans' bench outscored Utah 20-8 to start the fourth quarter and Wesley Johnson's pair of 3-pointers cut the lead to 110-102 with more than six minutes remaining.

But Rubio made four free throws and had an assist during an 8-0 run that pushed the lead to 118-102 with five minutes left.

With top reserve Randle moving into Davis' spot and another key reserve, Darius Miller, sidelined by a quad contusion, the Pelicans had to juggle their rotation. Okafor, Johnson and Frank Jackson, all of whom had played fewer then nine minutes previously, entered the game in the first quarter.

In Davis' absence, Mirotic assumed the role of primary scoring option at the start and he responded with 15 points as New Orleans took a 31-28 lead after one quarter.

Utah started the second quarter with an 18-4 run and Randle went to the bench after committing his third foul midway through the period.

The Jazz led by as many as 17 before settling for a 64-49 halftime lead as Rubio scored 20 and Gobert added 16 first-half points.

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