The New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns clash in Game 5 of their Western Conference playoffs first round series on Tuesday night.
The Pelicans defended their home court successfully, pulling away from the Suns in a 118-103 win in Game 4 on Sunday. Now the series is all tied at 2-2 as it shifts back to Phoenix for a pivotal Game 5. Here’s a complete breakdown, including betting odds and free NBA picks.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns
Tuesday, April 26, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at Footprint Center
The Suns opened at -6.5 at BetOnline and they set the total at 215.5 in their NBA odds board. FiveThirtyEight has the Suns as 7-point home favorites, projecting them to win 76 percent of the time. There’s a small gap between the projections and the actual odds, should we take the road team and the points or hammer the total?
Game 4 Recap
Brandon Ingram once again led the way for the Pelicans, scoring 30 points with four rebounds and five assists. He changed the outcome of the game by himself in the third quarter with 18 points to help his team build a double-digit lead and never look back.
Ingram either scored or assisted on five straight baskets to start the third quarter and then the Pelicans pulled away in the middle of the fourth quarter behind the defense of rookies Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado and Jonas Valanciunas also went off with 26 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.
Deandre Ayton finished with 23 points for the Suns and JaVale McGee had 14 points off the bench on 7 of 7 shooting. Two being men leading the offense is not a good sign for a Suns team that clearly didn’t have enough without Devin Booker, who is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Brandon Ingram’s Emergence
We are witnessing Brandon Ingram’s first playoffs games. “Man it feels wonderful,” Ingram said after the play-in game against the Clippers. “Just to have a chance to be in the postseason this year. Never had a winning record, never been in the postseason. To get a chance to showcase my talent on the biggest stage is beautiful.”
Ingram has embraced the opportunity and he’s now scored at least 30 points in three straight playoff games, becoming the first player in Pelicans franchise history to accomplish this. Injuries limited Ingram to just 55 regular season games but he’s fully healthy and if he keeps playing like this the Pelicans can steal this series.
Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado and Chris Paul are the keys to Game 5. Jones and Alvarado put on a defensive clinic, particularly in the fourth quarter. The two rookies were all over the Suns in Game 4, making plays late and limiting Chris Paul’s impact. There was CP3 magic in the fourth quarter. Paul took over in the fourth quarter to lead the Suns to victory in Games 1 and 3 but he couldn’t deliver his clinical execution in Game 4.
Sunday was actually one of Chris Paul’s worst playoff games of his career. The Point God had just four points on 2 of 8 shooting with 11 assists but he didn’t go to the free-throw line and he missed his three 3-point attempts.
Devin Booker is still sidelined and the Suns just can’t afford these types of nights from their star point guard. CP3 doesn't have to put up 25 points but he’s one of the few Suns players who can consistently create his own shot and he has to pick up more of the offensive burden in order for his team to win this series.
Paul knows this and he’ll a have a much better showing on Tuesday. Three of the four games in this series went Over the total, including Sunday’s game, even with Paul struggling on offense. The real CP3 will show up on Tuesday, which will help the Over. I’ll keep riding this trend until it runs out of fuel. Enjoy the game!
NBA Pick: Over 215 (-110) at Everygame