Pelicans vs. Suns rating, takeaways: New Orleans uses big second half to sink Phoenix in Game 4, even up series

The New Orleans Pelicans defended house court docket on Sunday evening, pulling away from the Phoenix Suns for a 118-103 victory in Game 4 of their first-round series. Now all tied at 2-2, the series will shift again to Phoenix for a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday evening.

Just as he has all series, Brandon Ingram led the way in which for the Pelicans, ending with 30 factors, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He was significantly influential in the game-changing third quarter, scoring 18 factors because the Pelicans turned a halftime deficit right into a double-digit lead. The Pels by no means trailed once more, and pulled away in the center of the fourth quarter with an brisk run led by the protection of rookies Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado. They additionally acquired a big evening from Jonas Valanciunas, who went for 26 factors, 15 rebounds and 4 assists.

Deandre Ayton had 23 factors for the Suns, whereas JaVale McGee added 14 off the bench on an ideal 7-of-7 taking pictures efficiency. Those two being the main scorers isn’t signal for the Suns, although, and so they simply did not have sufficient offense in this sport with Devin Booker nonetheless sidelined with a hamstring harm.  

Here are some key takeaways from the sport:

Ingram leads the way in which

Brandon Ingram had by no means performed in a playoff sport prior to this season, a reality he made not of following the group’s play-in victory over the Los Angeles Clippers to clinch the No. 8 seed. 

“Man it feels fantastic,” Ingram mentioned on the time. “Just to have an opportunity to be in the postseason this 12 months. Never had a profitable report, by no means been in the postseason. To get an opportunity to showcase my expertise on the largest stage is gorgeous.”

He’s taken that probability after which some. On Sunday evening he put collectively one other robust efficiency, ending with 30 factors, 4 rebounds and 5 assists for his third straight 30-point sport in this series. He is the primary participant in Pelicans franchise historical past to accomplish that feat. 

After the Pelicans went chilly on the finish of the primary half and gave up the lead, Ingram set the tone popping out of the break. He both scored or assisted on 5 straight baskets to begin the third quarter, placing the Pelicans again in entrance for good. Later on, he threw down an enormous driving dunk that was the spotlight of an 18-point body. 

This was a little bit of a disappointing common season for Ingram, as accidents restricted him to simply 55 video games. Now that he is absolutely wholesome, he is displaying why he is a possible perennial All-Star. If he retains enjoying at this degree, the Pelicans have an actual shot to steal this series. 

Jones and Alvarado placed on a defensive clinic

Pelicans rookies Herb Jones (second-round choose) and Jose Alvarado (undrafted) weren’t family names coming into the playoffs, however the duo has earned loads of recognition over the primary 4 video games. Sunday evening’s Game 4 was the crowning achievement to this level, as they harassed the Suns all evening lengthy and led a key cost in the fourth quarter to assist the Pels draw back. 

In the span of some minutes, Jones blocked a 3-pointer by Mikal Bridges — an astounding show of athleticism and timing — Alvarado compelled an eight-second name on Chris Paul and Jones stole a go in the backcourt earlier than driving in for an and-one on a flagrant foul by Paul. A seven-point lead become a 14-point lead and that was the ball sport. 

Late in the fourth, Alvarado put a bow on issues by lastly getting one among his signature sneaky steals on Paul. The veteran notably waved Alvarado away when he tried to pull the transfer earlier in the series, however he let his guard down late in this sport. Alvarado poked the ball away, and in becoming vogue it discovered its approach to Jones for a layup. 

No fourth-quarter magic from Paul

Twice in this series we have seen Chris Paul take over the sport in the fourth quarter, main the Suns to wins in Games 1 and three with medical execution down the stretch. His poise and shotmaking in Game 3, in specific, was Hall of Fame stuff, as he put in 19 factors and both scored or assisted on 9 of the Suns’ 11 baskets in the body.

There was no such magic on Sunday. In reality, Paul had one of many worst postseason performances of his profession, ending with simply 4 factors on 2 of 8 from the sector and 11 assists. His 4 factors, 25 % area aim proportion, zero 3-point makes and nil free throws have been all both the worst or tied for the worst in his playoff profession. There have been additionally some uncharacteristic lapses down the stretch, as he was referred to as for eight seconds and acquired stripped by Alvarado on his trademark sneaky steal. 

With Devin Booker nonetheless sidelined with a hamstring harm, the Suns merely can not afford these kind of nights from Paul. He would not have to begin making an attempt to put up 25-30 per sport, however he is one of many few gamers they’ve who can persistently create his personal shot and so they do want him to choose up even extra of the offensive burden if they need to beat this pesky Pelicans group. 

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