Injuries in the playoffs play a huge role in the success or failure of a teams championship run. The Phoenix Suns find themselves in a similar situation as they go against the New Orleans Pelicans without their star, Devin Booker. The Suns are leading the series 2-1 and is looking to extend the lead.
The New Orleans Pelicans went with their starting lineup of VJ McCollum, Herbert Jones, Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes and Jonas Valanciunas. The Phoenix Suns started with Chris Paul, Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton.
With the opening tip, both teams were ready to show up in the match being as crucial as it is. The Suns started the scoring with Mikal Bridges. But the Pelicans were prepared this time as they went with their scoring as well. Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas took point on the attack. From the Suns side it was Deandre Ayton who was attacking.
The game was going back and forth. With defense doing as good as the offense, it was an intense game that fans were enjoying watching. Cam Johnson lit the 2nd quarter with his scoring but the score gap between the two teams was very close. The 1st half went to the Suns with a score of 51-49.
The 3rd quarter rolled in and the Pelicans knew they could not let this game get out of their hands. So on defense they tightened the interior. On offense Ingram went to work as he manhandled the Suns defense. The Suns were not able to exploit and their overreliance on jumpshots were proving a heavy burden for them.
The 4th quarter was a mimic of the 3rd quarter with Valanciunas going to work on the interior. The score gap widened a lot and the Pelicans knew they had the game in their bag. The Suns tried to come back with a last hitch effort but it did not work and they succumbed to their demise.
Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring with 30 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Jonas Valanciunas proved to be a good secondary option for the Pelicans as he put up a double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds. CJ McCollum added a little spice of his own with 18 points and 9 rebounds.
For the Suns, Deandre Ayton led with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Javale McGee came off the bench and put up 14 points and 4 rebounds. Cameron Johnson put up 14 points and 5 rebounds. Chris Paul had a rough night scoring an all-time career low of 4 points, 11 assists and 2 steals.
Takeaways from Game 4
The Pelicans took game 4 with a scoreline of 118-103. They have now ties the series with 2-2 and are now feeling confident going into Game 5. The Suns need to make certain changes and stop relying on their jumpshots when it’s not hitting. Chris Paul needs to step up his game as without Devin Booker, he is the only one capable of pulling out a series win with the experience that he has.