New Orleans Pelicans Show Defensive Prowess Blowing Out the Utah Jazz

Watch out, NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans are now one of the hottest teams coming out of the All-Star break.

In their four games since resuming the season, the Pelicans have dominated their opponents at least 30 points in each contest, winning by an impressive average of 26.8 points per game. Since the All-Star break, New Orleans has been the NBA’s best defensive team, limiting three of their opponents to only 95.5 points per game.

The beat keeps going for the Pelicans as they routed the Utah Jazz Friday night, 124-90. New Orleans had runs of 10-0 and 9-0 to build a 35-17 first-quarter lead that grew to as large as 37 points late in the third frame.

Pelicans forward Jaxson Hayes has been a difference-maker on the defensive end. He shared his observations on the team’s improvement after the game.

“I feel like we’ve done a great job as a team defensively. Everyone is picking up everyone’s slack. If somebody gets beat, somebody is there. Our team defense as a whole has gotten really good.” Hayes said via ESPN.

He also put on a Play of the Year candidate with this insane putback dunk early in the first quarter.

The Pelicans used their stifling defense to shut down the NBA’s highest-scoring team to only 35.2 percent shooting while holding their leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, to only 14 points on 5-18 shooting after averaging 32.6 points in his previous five games.

The Pelicans will have a chance to test their improved defense against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.