SALT LAKE CITY — New Orleans All-Star forward Anthony Davis may not play in Friday night’s game against the Utah Jazz after leaving Wednesday night’s loss to Denver with back spasms.
It’s similar to what happened last week when Davis left the game against the Jazz after four minutes because of a sprained ankle, never to return. He sat out a game and after returning to the lineup earlier this week, he left Wednesday’s game after just 10 minutes and didn’t return.
It may not make that much of a difference, however, since the Pelicans still beat the Jazz without Davis, thanks mainly to the play of guard Tyreke Evans, who scored 22 points and dished out 15 assists.
“We’ve got to stop Tyreke Evans,’’ said Jazz point guard Trey Burke. “He did a great job last game, not only scoring for himself, but he had 14 or 15 assists We have to do a really good job blocking in on him and guys have to do their job on the weak side.’’
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is preparing for the game as if Davis will play Friday. He praised the Pelicans' forward and the improvement he has seen in Davis’ game this season.
“One of the great things I see with him is the energy he plays,’’ Corbin said. “It’s been fun to see him develop his game, playing hard on both ends of the floor and the way he runs for a big guy. His shooting has improved and he’s been a really good off-the-ball shot-blocker. I really think he enjoys playing the game.’’
PLAYING TIME: Some folks have wondered why the Jazz, with nothing really to play for right now, don’t get more experience for young players such as Rudy Gobert or Ian Clark, who have each seen limited minutes this year.
When asked Thursday about playing those two more, Corbin didn't expound, curtly saying, “If the opportunity presents itself, we’ll see.’’
Later he went on to say, apparently referring to the rookies, “It’s not easy and a lot of people say it and these guys think at times they should be out there on the floor and make mistakes and continue to make mistakes and learn. But it’s not necessarily the best way to handle it.’’
JAZZ NOTES: After Friday’s game, the Jazz hit the road for a game at Golden State Sunday night before returning home for a pair of home games against Dallas Tuesday and Portland Friday.
Besides last week’s 102-95 loss to New Orleans, the Jazz have split their other two games with the Pelicans this season, winning 111-105 at home and losing 105-98 on the road in a pair of games in November.
Friday’s game will be part of NBA Green Week and Jazz players will participate by wearing special NBA Green shooting shirts made from 100 percent organic cotton and coaches will wear NBA Green lapel pins. Also, 10,000 reusable tote bags will be distributed to fans in pre-game activities that will be held on the EnergySolutions Arena plaza before the game.