The Suns vs Pelicans prediction took a sharp turn when Devin Booker went down. Phoenix were clear favorites entering this matchup, but such is the way of the NBA playoffs.
One day you’re clear favorites to win the title, and the next you’re fighting to get out of the first round. The Brooklyn Nets are a great example of this and of how Vegas is no match for the basketball Gods.
Could the Suns be another title favorite to go down in the first round?
Suns vs Pelicans prediction
The New Orleans Pelicans had to battle their way through a play-in tournament, and were actually the last team to make it into the playoffs. With everything considered, the Suns vs Pelicans prediction looked like a straightforward win for the NBA’s best team.
The series is currently tied at two apiece and it doesn’t look like Devin Booker is returning anytime soon. The Phoenix Suns playoff chances are in jeopardy, especially following a game 4 where the Pelicans dominated.
Let’s see which team has the advantage.
The Suns’ culture
Before we make a bold Suns vs Pelicans prediction, let’s take a deeper look at Phoenix. They have been the best team in basketball for almost two seasons now and you can’t do that without a healthy culture.
Devin Booker is the Suns’ best player there is no doubt about that, but Monty Williams is a good enough coach to get past New Orleans without him. Chris Paul is a point God, and even though he had a mediocre performance in game 4, you can be sure that he will respond in game 5 at home.
The Suns are a well-rounded team that can find solutions, make no mistake about that. Let’s not also forget that they have home-court advantage which is pivotal if the series goes to seven games.
Devin Booker’s NBA Playoff stats in the first two games included 25 points in game 1 and 31 points in game 2. The Suns need to find someone other than Ayton to score in the 20s to make up for Booker’s scoring bursts. They also need to be more aggressive in the paint and match New Orleans’s tenacity.
Devin Booker or not, the Pelicans deserve all the credit for bringing it to the Suns and believing they can win this matchup.
Brandon Ingram has scored 30 points or more in three out of the four games played. Jose Alvarado has gotten under Chris Paul’s skin with his signature pesky defense, and CJ McCollum has been the veteran leader for a well-coached team.
Willie Green has got a hungry young team that is willing to be coached, and it shows with their effort and tenacity. The Pelicans held Chris Paul to just four points in game 4, tied for worst in his career.
They executed a clear game plan, making everyone else beat them. And with Booker sidelined, it’s much easier to swarm Paul and make him give up the ball.
The Pelicans are also dominating the boards 191 to 142 with their physical play and forcing Ayton out of the paint. Willie Green seems to have widely benefited from being on Monty Williams’ staff last year.
With this all-around dominant performance in game 4, the Pelicans definitely believe that they can pull off an upset.
Up for grabs
Monty Williams himself said that the Suns did not play as hard as the Pelicans in game 4. You can be sure that a team like Phoenix will respond at home in game 5.
The Suns will not fade away onto the horizon as the Nets did, and the Pelicans will not let an opportunity like this pass them by.
This Pelicans vs Suns 2022 series is going to be a good old NBA dogfight.