Chris Paul stellar down stretch, Suns beat Pelicans

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Chris Paul has crafted a Hall of Fame-caliber career by passing the ball.

He can also shoot it pretty well, if essential.

Paul scored 19 of his 30 details through a amazing fourth-quarter scoring screen and the Phoenix Suns beat the New Orleans Pelicans 110-99 on Sunday night in Recreation 1 of the to start with-round playoff series.

“Traditional Chris,” Suns coach Monty Williams reported.

The best-seeded Suns essential Paul’s big complete regardless of dominating most of the sport. The Pelicans shook off a sluggish get started, chopping a 23-place deficit to 79-71 by the finish of the 3rd.

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Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives as New Orleans Pelicans ahead Herbert Jones defends through the very first fifty percent of Recreation 1 of an NBA basketball initial-spherical playoff sequence, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Phoenix.
(Online News 72h Image/Matt York)

New Orleans stored hitting photographs in the fourth, but that’s when Paul took more than, hitting 3 3-ideas and a layup in 2 1/2 minutes in a flurry that kept the Pelicans chasing. The ageless veteran will convert 37 later on in these playoffs if the Suns advance much more than enough, but when yet again appeared a decade youthful.

Paul — a very pleased basketball junkie — explained getting over a video game is all about truly feel.

“It can be just examining the game,” Paul explained. “We watch online games all working day, every single working day. We received to watch all the game titles yesterday. We watched the games today. We know in the playoffs, teams usually are not going to lay down.”

Paul has never won a championship, slipping just quick last year when the Suns shed to the Bucks in six game titles in the Finals. He’s fond of indicating he never ever requires postseason basketball for granted and his 130th profession playoff activity was amid his best.

Recreation 2 is Tuesday night time in Phoenix.

The Suns were 47- in the regular year when main soon after 3 quarters. Now they are 1- in the playoffs. Paul shot 12 for 16 from the subject, such as 4 of 6 on 3-ideas. He scored 17 straight factors for the Suns at just one level in the fourth.

“That man’s a real competitor, a real winner,” Suns guard Devin Booker explained. “He wishes it that bad. You can see it in his demeanor, you can see it in his walk. It should not shock anybody. He’s designed for these times.”

Booker — who completed with 25 points — strike a 3-pointer on the opening possession and the Suns by no means trailed, employing a ferocious defensive energy to quickly get handle. Phoenix led 53-34 by halftime, forcing the Pelicans into just 11 of 49 capturing (22%) just before the split.

Suns massive gentleman Deandre Ayton was specially dominant on the defensive conclude with four blocks, and had 21 details and 9 rebounds. At just one level in the third quarter, he swatted a shot from Jonas Valanciunas and turned towards the group, screaming as the followers returned a roar in acceptance.

CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 25 details, but struggled with his capturing a great deal of the night. He finished 9 of 25 from the subject. Valanciunas additional 18 points and 25 rebounds. Brandon Ingram scored 18 details.

The Pelicans had some excellent moments, specifically all through their 3rd quarter rally. It did not direct to a acquire, but it can be one thing they can establish on for Sport 2.

“We figured out a way to engage in,” Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. reported. “This is the playoffs and there are likely to be ebbs and flows, ups and downs. We are in a chess match now.”

New Orleans made its surprise journey to the playoffs by profitable two game titles in the engage in-in event, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 105-101 on Friday night.

That gave the Pelicans a good deal of momentum, but the Suns had the fresh new legs and it confirmed.

The Suns’ first vitality was amazing, specially on the defensive end. They led by 16 at just one position in the initial quarter ahead of settling for a 28-16 benefit going into the next.

Friendly FACEOFF

It really is no key Williams and Pelicans mentor Willie Eco-friendly are close friends and colleagues.

Eco-friendly was Williams’ guide assistant past time for the duration of the Suns’ operate to the Finals before earning the head coaching work in New Orleans through the offseason.

Williams reported he texted Green to congratulate him next the Pelicans’ gain over the Clippers on Friday. Otherwise, he mentioned there is certainly been no communcation.

“We haven’t experienced some extensive, drawn-out dialogue with violins actively playing at the rear of us or everything like that,” Williams mentioned in advance of the sport. “We have acquired to prepare our groups to engage in. I’m looking ahead to the levels of competition.”


Pelicans: F Zion Williamson (suitable foot fracture) is not anticipated to engage in this series. … Larry Nance Jr. scored 14 factors and grabbed six rebounds. … New Orleans experienced a 55-35 advantage on the glass. Valanciunas experienced a period-superior 13 offensive rebounds.

Suns: G Landry Shamet (sprained remaining foot) skipped exercise on Friday but was stated as offered on Sunday. He did not engage in. … Cam Johnson completed with 13 details on 5-of-6 capturing. JaVale McGee additional 7 factors and 7 rebounds. … Mikal Bridges was called for a technical foul in the fourth quarter.

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