The Phoenix Suns shattered the Pelicans’ comeback dreams. The 115: 109 victory for the visitors required a historic performance from Chris Paul as New Orleans battled to the last and only just missed the next sensation.
New Orleans Pelicans (8) – Phoenix Suns (1) 109: 115 (BOXSCORE), Series: 2-4
It was one of those stories that only the sport writes. Chris Paul almost single-handedly eliminated the Pelicans from the playoffs, setting a playoff record in the process. The playmaker lowered 14 field goals in a row at his old workplace, a feat not seen by any other player since data collection began in 1997. The Point God did not miss a single throw throughout the game (14/14 FG. 1/1 three, 4/4 FT, plus 8 assists), and he did not take any of the throws in the immediate vicinity of the ring.
The playmaker, who played in New Orleans from 2005 to 2011, was emotional after the game: “You can not imagine how emotional every single match was for me. Willie Green is my brother, I talk to him about everything, only during the game. “series, we have not exchanged a word so far, I see his son on the sidelines. That is why he is the coach here, there has not been so much energy here for a long time. I’m just glad we got the win.”
Paul was the game’s top scorer with 33 points, DeAndre Ayton also knew how to please (22, 10/12 FG), Bridges contributed with 18 points. Devin Booker returned from a hamstring injury and had a pretty quiet night with 13 points (and only 12 shots). In the Pelicans, seven players scored double-digit, led by Brandon Ingram (21), Herbert Jones and CJ McCollum all had 16 points.
A masterpiece by Chris Paul
Both teams went into the match with open aim, Phoenix finished the first quarter with a shot rate of 59 percent – Ayton, for example, did not miss a shot (10 points, 4/4 FG). The hosts dominated under the basket and collected 18 points in the zone, after which the Pelicans could not afford a single turnover. Result: Draw 28:28 after the first 12 minutes.
Valanciunas promptly registered his third foul at the start of the second quarter and had to sit on the bench. As a result, head coach Willie Green sent Larry Nance Jr. on the field, which played a full 12 minutes as center and created some problems for the visitors (10 points). New Orleans dominated the boards (16: 6 rebounds) and had 14 second chance points in the first round. Phoenix cooled off in the offense (38 percent FG) and had little to counteract the hosts’ high pace. Pels meanwhile rattled an 18: 2 run and went to the break with a 10-point lead.
In the third quarter, Paul lived up to his nickname Point God and took control of the game. The playmaker put up an almost perfect quarter (13 points, 6/6 FG, 3 assists, 1 TO) and put the Suns back in the game. McCollum got his fifth foul in the middle of the quarter and only had to return to the field 6 minutes before the end. Nevertheless, the Pelicans remained stubborn and even went into the final quarter with a three-point lead (85:82).
About two and a half minutes before the end, the Pelicans took the lead (102: 101) after two converted free throws by Alvarado. Paul was then involved in four of the Suns’ next five baskets, including two assists for Ayton and Booker, two free throws and a middle-class jump to put the game 110-104 a minute before the final buzzer. Another pull-up sweater as well as free kick from Devin Bookers brought the final decision.
NBA Playoffs – Suns vs. Pelicans: The Series at a Glance (4-2)
|1||April 18||3 o’clock||Phoenix Suns||New Orleans Pelicans||110: 99|
|2||the 20th of April||4 o’clock||Phoenix Suns||New Orleans Pelicans||114: 125|
|3||23rd April||3.30||New Orleans Pelicans||Phoenix Suns||111: 114|
|4||April 25||3.30||New Orleans Pelicans||Phoenix Suns||118: 103|
|5||April 27||4 o’clock||Phoenix Suns||New Orleans Pelicans||112: 97|
|6||April 29||1:30||New Orleans Pelicans||Phoenix Suns||109: 115|