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Jazz-Pelicans Preview

While the Utah Jazz's longest losing streak in 15 months has delivered a major blow their playoff chances, the New Orleans Pelicans' slide has all but put an end to theirs.

Facing the club that started their fall from a postseason spot, the visiting Jazz hope to avoid their sixth consecutive defeat Saturday night against the injury-ravaged Pelicans.

Utah appeared to be headed to its first playoff appearance since 2011-12 on Feb. 9 when a season-high seven-game winning streak put it seventh in the Western Conference.

Anthony Davis took it upon himself to halt that run the next night, hitting a hook shot and a 3-pointer in the final minute of New Orleans' 100-96 home victory. Starting with that contest, the Jazz have dropped eight of 10 to fall two games out of postseason position.

Gordon Hayward had 18 points and Rudy Gobert added 13 and 18 rebounds Friday when Utah (28-33) led by as many as 14 but couldn't hold on in a 94-88 loss at Memphis. The club's five-game losing streak is its longest since dropping nine in a row from Nov. 21-Dec. 8, 2014.

''Our guys hurt,'' coach Quin Snyder said after the team's third stop on a four-game trip.

Utah's biggest struggles have been offensively as they've averaged just 90.2 points on 41.6 percent shooting during the slide. Rodney Hood has scored 9.8 per game with a 30.8 field-goal percentage in his last five after averaging 19.9 points in the prior 15.

The Pelicans (23-37) had been within 5 1/2 games of a postseason spot after a 5-2 push capped by an impressive 123-119 home win over Oklahoma City on Feb. 25. However, they've since lost three in a row to fall into 12th place and 6 1/2 back with only 22 remaining.

New Orleans seemed to have San Antonio on the ropes Thursday before the Spurs closed out the contest with a 12-0 run over the final 3:10 for a 94-86 road win. The Pelicans also lost a six-point lead in the final five minutes of Wednesday's 100-95 loss at Houston.

''We have to find a way to figure out who we can go to at the end of the game that can get us those baskets,'' coach Alvin Gentry said.

Eric Gordon has been a bright spot, averaging 22.7 points while hitting 11 of 24 from 3-point range in three games since missing 16 because of a broken finger. Davis has scored just 17 per game on 43.3 percent shooting in his last four while trying to overcome a toe injury.

The Pelicans have already lost Quincy Pondexter, Tyreke Evans and Bryce Dejean-Jones to season-ending injuries. Now Alexis Ajinca is sidelined indefinitely because of a fractured sternum, while fellow center Omer Asik is questionable with a sprained ankle.

Still, New Orleans will try to begin a late run by winning its third straight against Utah.

Davis has an opportunity to set a franchise record with his 128th game of at least 10 points and 10 boards. He's averaged 29.2 on 62.8 percent and 10.2 in his last five meetings with the Jazz.

Derrick Favors did not play in Utah's 101-87 home win Nov. 28, but he's totaled 51 points on 21-of-30 shooting in the past two matchups.

The Jazz have lost 16 of 20 on the road and seven of the past nine at New Orleans.

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