Stakes in the Smoothie King Center were high as the New Orleans Pelicans were looking to tie the series against the ‘title favorites’ Phoenix Suns. The Suns were looking to close the series as soon as possible so as to move on the next round.
The New Orleans Pelicans went with their starting lineup of CJ McCollum, Herbert Jones, Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes and Jonas Valanciunas. The Phoenix Suns started with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton.
With the opening tip, the crowd was filled with anticipation about the outcome of the game by watching the level of play of both teams. The Suns let their big man Deandre Ayton do the work inside the paint. Although the Pelicans have size, Ayton always takes the lead in scoring in the 1st quarter.
However, the Pelicans were operating well in the offensive end, making timely passes and they were getting their shots to fall. Their offense is usually centered around Brandon Ingram who drew the defense to his side and found open teammates to make the basket.
In the 2nd quarter, Larry Nance Jr. went on a rampage on the offensive end grabbing 5 offensive boards and putting them in. The Pelicans were scoring more and their defense was proving to be heavy for Booker and the Suns to handle. The 1st half ended with the Pelicans enjoying a 10 point lead with a score of 58-48.
Once the 2nd half rolled in, it was the Suns’ turn to show what they were made of. Chris Paul took on the reins having yet to miss a shot in the game. He was running laps around the Pelicans’ defense scoring and finding teammates cutting to the basket. The Pelicans cooled down during the half and were struggling to make their shots.
Chris Paul continued his streak into the 4th quarter with both Booker and Ayton chiming in. The Pelicans had no answer for the Suns’ wavelike offense. Brandon Ingram was the only one who was consistently making his shots but that wasn’t enough as the Pelicans stare at the Playoff exit door.
Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with a double-double of 21 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal. CJ McCollum supported him with 16 points and 3 rebounds. Herbert Jones showed up with 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Larry Nance Jr. came off the bench to put up 15 points, 8 rebounds and a steal.
Chris Paul had a historic night as he went perfect from the field and put up 33 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal. Deandre Ayton supported him with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block. Mikal Bridges put up 18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Devin Booker is still recovering from his injury yet he managed to put up 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Phoenix Suns move on to the next round
The Phoenix Suns cruise into the 2nd round with a scoreline of 115-109. The Suns won the series in 6 games with 4-2. It seems like Devin Booker will be all better before the start of the 2nd round. They will be facing against the Dallas Mavericks who beat the Utah Jazz in Game 6.
The New Orleans Pelicans finished the season better than how they started. Them reaching the Play-in tournament was not predicted, let alone the Playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the Pelicans will look once Zion Williamson hit the floor with the rest of the roster.