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With Devin Booker likely unavailable for Game 3 and 4, the Suns need to find out where their scoring punch is going to come from. The Pelicans have all the offensive momentum and look to improve with home-court advantage.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns
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|Phoenix Suns||Head-to-Head||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Monty Williams||Head Coach||Willie Green|
|64-18 (1st in West)||Standing||36-46 (9th in West)|
|114.8 (4th of 30)||Off Rtg||112.0 (19th of 30)|
|107.3 (3rd of 30)||Def Rtg||113.0 (20th of 30)|
|99.8 (9th of 30)||Pace||97.2 (21st of 30)|
|D. Booker (28.0)||PPG||B. Ingram (27.5)|
|D. Ayton (9.0)||RPG||J. Valanciunas (19.0)|
|C. Paul (12.0)||APG||C. McCollum (7.5)|
|C. Paul (2.0)||SPG||T. Murphy III (1.5)|
|D. Ayton (2.0)||BPG||C. McCollum (1.0)|
|J. McGee (1.00)/D. Booker (10.0)||FG%/FGM||N. Marshall (.750)/B. Ingram (9.5)|
|D. Booker (.579)/D. Booker (5.5)||3P%/3PM||B. Ingram (.800)/C. McCollum (4.5)|
|Dario Saric||Phoenix Suns||7 Jul 2021||Out (Knee)||Saric suffered a torn ACL and will not return this season.|
|Devin Booker||Phoenix Suns||20 Apr 2022||Out (Hamstring)||There is no timetable for Booker’s return.|
|Kira Lewis Jr.||New Orleans Pelicans||9 Dec 2021||Out (Knee)||Lewis Jr. suffered a torn ACL and will not return this season.|
|Zion Williamson||New Orleans Pelicans||5 Mar 2022||Out (Foot)||Williamson has been cleared to progress in basketball activities, but there is no timetable for his return.|
The Phoenix Suns will have their hands full when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans without Devin Booker. They’ll need better production from their role players to make up for his absence, as well as a better effort on defence.
In their Game 2 loss, the Phoenix Suns allowed their opponents to shoot 54.8% from the field and convert on 17 of their 30 three-point field goal attempts. Fourth in the NBA in three-point field goals allowed per game (11.6), Phoenix’s defence was well below their usual standards.
Before their offense, Phoenix needed to find the defensive form that earned them the best record in the NBA. If they continue to struggle to defend, a scoring battle isn’t in their favor.
Oh yes, CP3 did that. pic.twitter.com/FifxRdcOK2
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 18, 2022
Chris Paul’s priority is usually playmaking, but without Booker, in the line-up, he’ll have to assume primary scoring responsibilities as well. While he struggled from the field in his last game, Paul’s ability to orchestrate the offence can turn the tide of any game.
In-Game 2 Paul posted 17 points and 14 assists in 36 minutes of play. He struggled shooting the ball though, converting on just 5 of his 16 three-point field goal attempts.
Paul has proven to be a very capable scorer throughout his career, but creating for others will always be his priority. The more opportunities he can make for his teammates, the more he’ll be able to free himself up for baskets.
The Pelicans shocked the world and came up with a victory in Game 2. If they want to replicate their success, they’ll need to continue to convert on the opportunities created by their stars.
The combination of McCollum and Ingram combined for 60 points, 19 rebounds, and most importantly 18 assists. The Pelican’s role players were able to reward their creation with efficient finishing which gave them their lead.
Outside of those two players, the Pelicans don’t have much individual creative ability outside of Valanciunas in the post. New Orleans rewarded their stars’ playmaking with the baskets needed to overcome the tough defence of the Suns.
? 37 points for Brandon Ingram
? 26 in the second half
? 11 rebounds, 9 assists
? Pelicans tie the series 1-1
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2022
The New Orleans Pelicans are a much stronger team than many realized, especially when Brandon Ingram takes the lead. The wiry scoring ace is productive from every position on the court, and the Suns have had difficulty containing him.
In his last game, a victory in Game 2, Ingram posted 37 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists on 13 of 21 shooting from the field. He hit all 3 of his three-point field goal attempts and was a team-leading plus-18 on the night.
Against a Booker-less Suns team, it’ll be Ingram’s responsibility to set the offensive tone from the outset. If Ingram can find his offence early, the Suns might not have the power to keep up.
|Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans Information|
|Who||Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans|
|Where||Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|When||Friday, 9:30 PM EST, April 22nd, 2022|
|How to Watch||ESPN|
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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