Game: New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Pelicans +6.5, Suns -6.5
The Suns-Pelicans first-round series got real interesting with a New Orleans victory in Game 4. That evened things up at 2-2. Phoenix leading scorer Devin Booker has been ruled out of Game 5 with his hamstring injury forcing the Suns to play without him once again. So far, Phoenix has done well without Booker. Even though they lost Game 4, the Suns have won nine of 13 games that Booker has missed this season. What Phoenix really needs in Game 5 is for Chris Paul to be himself.
In Game 4, Paul scored just four points on 2-of-8 shooting from the floor. The Suns’ veteran did have 11 assists, but when Booker is out Paul and Deandre Ayton have to pick up the slack. Ayton did his part in Game 4 with 24 points. Tonight, Phoenix needs more from its veteran guard. The other thing is that Phoenix cannot put the Pelicans on the free throw line so often. The Suns outshot New Orleans and hit one more three-pointer than the Pelicans. The difference was at the free-throw line where the Suns went 10-for-15 while the Pelicans hit 32-of-42.
Game 5 is huge as the loser will be on the brink of elimination in Game 6. The Suns will probably be more comfortable tonight at home at the Footprint Center where they are 33-10 SU this season. Despite the Game 4 loss, the Suns are still 13-6 SU in their last 19 games. Phoenix won 64 regular-season games this season and had to play without one of their stars – Booker, Paul, or Ayton – at several different points and still managed to lead the NBA in wins.
What chance the Pelicans have lies squarely on the shoulders of Brandon Ingram. He has been tearing it up over the last three games. Ingram has scored 30-plus points in each of the last three games in the series. He had 30 points in the Game 4 win. If he continues his pace and C.J. McCollum can shoot like he did in Game 3 (11-of-23), New Orleans can make this series even more interesting than it already is.
With that Game 4 win, New Orleans is now 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games. The problem for the Pelicans is that they have not been able to win consistently against Phoenix. In the last 15 head-to-head meetings between the two teams, New Orleans is 5-10 SU and 5-10 ATS.
Both teams trend to the Under. Eight of the Suns’ last 12 games have resulted in the Under. Eight of New Orlean’s last 11 road games have also gone Under the total. At home at the Footprint Center, five of the Suns’ last six home games have gone Under, but the last three games in this series have all gone Over the posted total. Tonight’s total of 215.5 is right in line with the last two games.