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Pelicans Needs Game-4 Win to Even Series with Suns

The New Orleans Pelicans have a chance to even the series with the Phoenix Suns in what could be the last game in the Smoothie King Center this season.

The New Orleans Pelicans are coming into Game 4 with a chance to even this NBA Playoffs first-round series against Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. Willie Green will need to make just a few small adjustments, and the Pelicans will need to hit more open shots, or this could be the last game in the Smoothie King Center this season.

Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans

  • When: April 24, 2022 @ 8:30 pm CT
  • Where: New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
  • How To Watch/Listen: TNT, Bally Sports, ESPN 100.3FM New Orleans

Expected Starting Lineups:

New Orleans Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, Jaxson Hayes, Jonas Valancuinas

Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul, Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton

CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram have been playing well but are still learning to hit another gear together in the playoffs. They are still building up their chemistry and rhythm together. Ingram and McCollum have both had splendid games on this 2022 playoff stage but Game 4 will be just their 20th in the same lineup. Every repetition helps but every split-second decision can change a game. Ingram and McCollum cannot second guess too often or the Pelicans will wind up second-best in the series.

Green said during Saturday’s shootaround, “There’s a number of things that stood out to me. Offensively, it’s the turnovers. They’re doing a great job of capitalizing off our turnovers. We had 15 turnovers, which is not a lot, but they had 23 points off those. Some of them are just self-inflicted so we’re telling our guys against a really good defensive team to take care of the basketball.”

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Chris Paul

The Pelicans had almost as many turnovers (14) as assists (17) in Game 3. They missed 21 three-pointers and 7 free throws in a game lost by only 3 points. Paul helped guide the Suns through a mistake-free game without Devin Booker to steal a road win. Phoenix committed only 5 turnovers and 21 fouls. New Orleans needs to match that focus on every possession or risk facing an elimination game in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Green explained, “We’ve been going over the little things like offensive rebounding and other adjustments we should have made in that game. Obviously, it was a winnable game, but we know we need to fix certain things up and focus on Sunday.”

Getting Jonas Valanciunas involved more on offense would take the pressure off of Ingram and McCollum. He is averaging over 16 rebounds but just 11 points per game but the Pelicans starting center needs more help patrolling the paint on defense. Deandre Ayton has posted 59 points, 35 rebounds, and shot 27/41 from the field in the last three games. Jaxson Hayes, Larry Nance Jr. Trey Murphy III, and Willy Hernangomez have got to find a way to bump Ayton off his spots to give Valanciunas a chance.

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The Pelicans cannot let the emotions of this pivotal game affect their play. Coach Green said regardless of how the refs are calling the game the Suns approach a play, “You have to not worry about it. They (officials) going to see what they see, but we got to fight through whatever we have to fight through. It’s a hard job, especially in an environment like this, but we have to do our job. That’s one of the things we can’t control so we have to worry about what we can control.”

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