Fast start, steady finish lift Suns past Pelicans, 123-110
The Phoenix Suns entered Tuesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans short-handed.
It mattered little as the superior team still came out on the long end of the score Tuesday night.
Devin Booker pumped in 33 points to pace the Suns in a 123-110 victory over the Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.
Phoenix jumped all over New Orleans early, pulling out to a 16-point lead and led 42-31 going to the second quarter. The Suns could not miss and the Pelicans could not get a stop, allowing the most points in any quarter this season.
It was 64-54 at halftime and the Suns maintained the lead at 95-84 going to the fourth quarter.
Behind Devonte Graham, the Pelicans made a strong run in the final frame to pull within 101-99 but the Suns then pulled away, closing the game on a 22-11 run for the win in a game in which New Orleans never led.
The Suns blistered the nets to the tune of 54.1 percent from the field and 54.8 percent (17-of-31) from 3-point range. New Orleans shot just 40.4 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from 3-point range and were outscored 51-30 from beyond the arc.
Graham led the Pelicans with 28 points, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Jonas Valanciunas was outstanding with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Brandon Ingram, in his second game back from injury, scored 18 points but once again shot poorly, making just 5-of-18 field goal attempts. Ingram was 0-for-4 from 3-point range.
Returning to a huge negative issue early in the season, New Orleans got little from its reserves, with the bench contributing just 17 points.
Phoenix won despite being without centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, along with forward Jae Crowder due to health and safety protocols.
The Suns have beaten the Pelicans seven of the last nine times they have squared off.
The brutal homestand concludes Thursday night when the Pelicans (13-25) jump right back into the fire to take on Golden State, the top team in the Western Conference.
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