The Suns lost Game 2 after Devin Booker hurt himself, and now face a Game 3 in New Orleans without their star guard. Can they hold on and win back home court advantage?
Catch this game live on April 23, at 9:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Phoenix Suns (1-1, 0-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Cam Johnson / Landry Shamet
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: DeAndre Ayton
Man, losing Devin Booker for 2-3 weeks, and perhaps longer if his hamstring heals slowly, is a big blow to the team that were the title favorites heading into the playoffs. Booker, who had 31 points in the first half before getting hurt in the third quarter, is their instant offense who can be relied on in crunchtime.
However, the Suns are a team that can win by committee, and it’s not like Chris Paul hasn’t shown he can take over in a game, like he did in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Knowing that Booker isn’t playing will likely make the Point God more aggressive. He had 17 points and 14 assists with 0 turnovers in Game 2, and I expect his scoring output to be higher in Game 3.
Mikal Bridges will also look to attack the basket more to fill the scoring gap left by Booker, and they’ve got great bench players like Cameron Johnson, Cameron Payne, JaVale McGee and Landry Shamet to rely on. A key battle will be DeAndre Ayton vs. Jonas Valanciunas. Ayton only had 10 points on six shots in Game 2, and he’s going to get a lot more touches this time around.
Home: New Orleans Pelicans (1-1, 0-0 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: CJ McCollum
- SG: Herbert Jones
- SF: Brandon Ingram
- PF: Jaxson Hayes
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
CJ McCollum’s transition into point guard has been a beauty to watch. His 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in Game 2 showed how well-rounded his game is.
However, the man to watch will definitely be Brandon Ingram, who narrowly missed a triple-double with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists while shooting 13 of 21 overall including all three of his shots from beyond the arc. Ingram is a baller, and he’s looking comfortable on the court. Now that he’ll be dealing with good energy from home fans, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has another huge game. His skillset is excellent and the Suns must key in on him to win the game.
Spread: The Suns have shown an ability to weather adversity all season. I think they re-adjust without Booker and cover the -2 spread.
Over/Under: I think the over 216 hits.