The New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns are ready to clash in their West Conference playoff series for the second time. We’ve seen the Suns beating the rivals from Louisiana in the opening event, without some particular trouble, displaying a commanding presence on the floor. Still, the Suns can’t relax against the Pelicans, who possess a very potent offense with two high-class scorers, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum. On the other side, Phoenix has several individuals who are able to deliver extraordinary performances. Last time that was Chris Paul.
New Orleans Pelicans (+400) opened Game 1 pretty slowly, scoring only 16 points while on the other side, allowing 28. Instead of increasing the tempo in the second quarter, the Pels found themselves in the Suns’ whirl. NO bounced back in the third sequence, but that was it from them in this game.
McCollum scored a team-high 25 points, adding eight boards and six assists. Ingram had 18 buckets, which is below his usual numbers, but he had to endure a hard pressure coming from the Suns’ defenders. He and McCollum shot 15-for-42 combined.
Jonas Valanciunas was once again fantastic, with 18 points and monstrous 25 boards, 13 of them on the offensive side. The problem for the guests was that they didn’t have more players able to stand up to the rivals. Only Larry Nance Jr. had a notable contribution – 14 points.
Phoenix Suns (-500) showed their power. That is, Chris Paul showed why he is one of the best point guards in the league despite having 36 years. He would drop 30 points with 10 assists and seven boards, but what was more impressive was his productivity.
CP3 made 12 of his 16 shots from the field, 4-for-6 from three-point territory. His offensive efficiency is extremely important for Phoenix because Monty Williams needs Plan B when Devin Booker isn’t at his best. Paul being able to drop 20 or more points could be vital in the near future.
Two nights ago, that wasn’t the case because D-Book ended the game with 25 points. He also had eight assists and four boards. Deandre Ayton also had a good night – 21 points, 10-for-15 FG – and nine rebounds. Cam Johnson got off the bench to deliver 13 buckets, and Mikal Bridges added 11.
Head to Head Games
The Suns solved Game 1 without any problems, 110-99. The main reason for that was their defense. In the end, New Orleans’ players made only 37.9% of their shot attempts. On the upper side, the Pels completely outrebounded the hosts, 55-35, and that was Valanciunas’ credit. Meanwhile, Phoenix was better in fast break points, 15-2, and had more points from the paint, 50-38.
The spread on the Suns here is -9.5 points, and we already saw them beating the Pels by a double-digit margin five times this season, including this latest clash, in the playoffs. Therefore it wouldn’t be odd to see them repeating that once more. Also, we have one prop pick for all of you, and that would be New Orleans not to reach 100 points. Suns’ defense will be at its best again.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -9.5 points
Prop Pick: New Orleans Pelicans under 100 points
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.