Pelicans fall, 114-111, as Suns again cast a Paul over series
Phoenix takes 2-1 series lead heading into Sunday’s Game 4 in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A strained hamstring solved the Devin Booker booker problem for the New Orleans Pelicans. But they still have no answer for their Chris Paul problem.
For the second time in three games, Suns point guard Chris Paul took over a contest with a 19-point fourth quarter, this time leading Phoenix to a 114-111 victory Friday (April 22) at the Smoothie King Center. The Suns hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Western Conference playoff series, heading into Sunday’s Game 4 in New Orleans.
Paul and Deandre Ayton combined for 56 points, each finishing with 28. The Suns were without Booker, their top-scoring guard who suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2 that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the series.
The Pelicans held a one-point lead after the first quarter, but cooled off in the second. Phoenix took an 11-point lead into halftime after outscoring the Pelicans 31-19 in the second period.
Midway through the second period, Pelicans forward Jaxson Hayes was ejected for a flagrant foul in the lane against Suns forward Jae Crowder. Perhaps inspired by the ejection, Phoenix went on a 16-5 run before halftime.
The Suns led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but a Pelicans rally gave New Orleans the lead with about three minutes to go in the period.
The Pelicans put up 63 points in the second half. Forward Brandon Ingram finished with a game-high 34 points, while guard C.J. McCollum posted 30.
But Paul took over in the last 12 minutes, scoring 19 in the period on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, including a pull-up jumper that put Phoenix ahead for good with 5:26 left to play.
Paul also led the Suns to a Game 1 victory in Phoenix by scoring 19 points in the final quarter. According to research by ESPN, Paul has scored 19 points or more in a fourth quarter just four times in his 17-year career, spanning 1,287 games in the regular season and playoffs. Two of those games have come in a five-day span this series.
Game 4 is scheduled to tip off Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at the Smoothie King Center.
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