Despite the absence of lead scorer and All-Star Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns secured a 114: 111 road win over New Orleans on Friday night and took a 2: 1 lead in their first-round match. Suns bodyguard and future Hall of Fame Chris Paul was simply phenomenal when he scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to fend off annoying Pelicans, giving 14 assists.
Deandre Ayton was inside like a beast when he added 28 points and 17 rebounds for three thefts and a block, while Mikal Bridges added 17 points and went 9: 9-9 from the free throw line, so he lost a few clutches. The Pelicans led by 34 points and seven rebounds from Brandon Ingram, while his teammate CJ McCollum added 30 points and seven assists.
Game 4 will take place on Sunday in New Orleans, but before we get to that, let’s take a look at four key lessons from Game 3, followed by a recap of our live updates from the evening.
Paul had nine points in three quarters and was largely trying to prepare his teammates to stay on the offensive. However, when the fourth quarter came and the game was close, Paul started working as only he could. With the Suns one point behind and six minutes to go, Paul created four consecutive midfielders to give his team a five-point lead.
Paul set them up to pass the ball to his teammates (mostly Ayton) for most of the game. During the crisis, he used an extra pillow to get into his seats and make sweaters that are basically casual for him at this point in his career.
“In the fourth quarter [Ayton] he told me when the time limit expired, he said, ‘C, I’ll let you go. Shoot the ball, “Paul said after the match.” Being so open is big for our team because we need it and we trust it. “
In addition to mid-range magic, Paul also knocked down all four of his free throws when the Pelicans played a dirty game at the last minute to ensure there was no chance of a return. When Booker was out of lineup, Paul knew he had to work as a shooter, and he did great.
2. Bully ball
During the regular season, the Suns were second in the league with 16.2 attempts at a medium-distance shot per game, according to NBA.com. It makes sense because they are often missiles that prevent bait attacks, and Phoenix has two of the top middle-class shooters in the league with Booker and Paul. The Suns changed their game schedule with Booker on Friday night, but avoided middle-class jumpers in favor of a good, old-fashioned bully ball.
Phoenix defeated the Pelicans 64:40 in color and, apart from Paul, tried only four shots from a medium distance throughout the game, three of them. The rest came from inside the key or behind a 3-point line.
Ayton was inside the monster, on his way to a maximum of 28 points in his playoff career, joining everything from dunks to jump hooks.
Ayton was also not the only Suns center to cause damage. JaVale McGee was the main offensive threat off the bench, scoring 15 points while shooting 7 of 8, all of which were inside the color as you might expect. The Suns managed to win, even though they only scored four 3 points at night, which is difficult in the modern NBA if you have absolutely no control over color.
Select the subscription check box to confirm that you want to subscribe.
Thank you for logging in!
Track your inbox.
An error occurred while processing your subscription.
3. The stars disappear into New Orleans
Ingram was phenomenal on Friday, especially in the third quarter, but at the end of the game it stretched when he was noticeably missing. Ingram came in at 6:32 of the fourth quarter and had only one shot attempt – he knocked his elbow – Paul and Suns built up a nine-point lead with less than a minute left. Ingram scored nine points in the last 49 seconds, but they were shots of despair when the game was out of reach.
During this crucial moment, when Ingram had only one shot attempt, Jose Alvarado missed a heavy pass and Larry Nance Jr. missed two 3 points. McCollum’s camp at 1:55 was his first shooting attempt since 7:53. Alvarado and Nance were both great for the Pelicans, but the Pelicans just needed to find a way to get their two top shooters and game creators as far as possible. Instead, they were unable to stop the tide, and Chris Paul’s machine sent them home at a loss.
Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes and Suns striker Jae Crowder talked about nonsensical speeches at the start of the game, with just over five minutes left until the end of the half. As Crowder was about to walk after the rebound, Hayes crashed from the perimeter and struck Crowder in the back with a pretty severe blow. After review, Hayes was rated Flagrant 2 and eliminated.
Hayes was key to the Pelicans at both ends this season, so it is impossible to say how much his absence affected the outcome of the match. It will also be interesting to see how Hayes and Crowder interact for the rest of the series.