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Jazz-Pelicans Preview

Mention jazz during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and it's not going to make many people think of any Utah basketball teams.

There might be more of a chance of the Beehive State being recognized on Bourbon Street this year with Quin Snyder's streaking team heading to the Big Easy a night after Fat Tuesday aiming to extend its own celebration through the All-Star break with a win over the Pelicans.

Gordon Hayward sunk a fadeaway jumper as overtime expired to give Utah (26-25) a 121-119 win in Dallas on Tuesday and push its winning streak to seven, matching a run from 2010-11 for its longest since winning nine straight the season before. The Jazz are over .500 for the first time since being 8-7 on Nov. 28.

"I think we are learning more and more how to make winning plays," Snyder said. "Gordon made the right play, and he made the shot."

It wasn't the only one with time running out. Hayward's shot was made possible by Rodney Hood's game-tying 3-pointer with under two seconds left in regulation, and it's more often been Hood rather than Utah's top scorer leading the way lately. The second-year guard finished with 29 points, has scored at least 23 in his last three and is averaging 21.8 in his last 10. He's also scored 24.8 in his last four on the road.

"It was great playing against a veteran team like that and being able to gut one out at their place," Hood said.

Hayward has averaged 20.7 over the same 10-game span, and the team has generally made the pair's points count with strong defensive efforts.

The Jazz have given up more than 95 points four times in their last 11 games, and all four of those contests went to at least one overtime. On the winning streak, they've limited opponents to 89.9 points and 41.8 percent shooting, and that includes two OT contests.

The Jazz and Pelicans have split two games in Utah this season, and Anthony Davis is averaging 31.8 points on 66.2 percent shooting with 11.7 rebounds in his last four games against the Jazz.

New Orleans (19-32) ended a four-game losing streak with Monday's 116-102 win in Minnesota. The Pelicans shot 48.5 percent and hit 10 of 24 from 3-point range for a much-needed offensive effort after averaging 93 points on 42.9 percent and 25 percent from long range on the losing streak.

Davis had 27 points, as did Jrue Holiday to combine with Ryan Anderson's 26 and pace the Pelicans' 67 bench points. New Orleans averages an NBA-leading 42.5 for the season and that's only improved over an 8-6 span in which it's managed 45.6.

"Even when we have bad starts (to games), we have guys who can come in and make plays," said Davis, who has averaged 29.5 points in the last four games. "We're very grateful for (Holiday and Anderson)."

It might seem strange to have Holiday coming off the bench with Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans out, but New Orleans has been monitoring Holiday's minutes to try to keep him healthy. Coach Alvin Gentry has had to appoint an assistant who has the power to overrule him and remove Holiday from the game. The guard has averaged 19.8 points in the last nine games.

"I had to assign a guy to do that because it would be hard for me to do it," Gentry said. "It really is, especially when he's playing at the level that he is and the game is still teetering either way."

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