Preview: Suns Look to Sweep Pelicans

The Suns look to continue the hold on a top-six seed in the conference
Apr 5, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and Phoenix Suns guard
Apr 5, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and Phoenix Suns guard / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns (46-31) are continuing the pursuit of securing a top-six seed and thus avoiding the play-in tournament this afternoon against the New Orleans Pelicans (45-32).

In a dramatic turn of events, the Suns went from looking the part of a team that knew a play-in berth was their ultimate fate to building a lead over the competition.

The Pelicans have been the polar opposite, going from posting the second best net rating in the NBA since the all-star break to dropping four consecutive matches.

Brandon Ingram still remains out for the Pelicans, while Zion Williamson is questionable with a finger injury.

A brief rundown on why this game means so much for both sides and a prediction:

Last Shot for Pelicans?

New Orleans went from holding a lead over the Suns to effectively trailing by two games coming into the matchup today (Phoenix holds the season tiebreaker and cannot lose it).

A Suns win effectively gives them a three-game lead with four games remaining. The only way New Orleans could supplant Phoenix at that point is by winning out and hoping the Suns falter down the stretch.

A New Orleans win puts the two teams in an effective tie for the six-seed once again, although the Suns still hold the tiebreaker.

Essentially, a Suns win will likely be a de-facto seal on avoiding the play-in tournament, while a Pelicans upset win will mean that anything can happen over the last week of the season.

Game Prediction: Suns Win

The Suns continue the momentum and handle a shorthanded Pelicans squad once again - they will continue to show the team they can consistently be in the process.

Devin Booker will more than make up for the rough outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night with another stellar showing against the Pelicans. Jusuf Nurkic once again will handle Jonas Valanciunas. The Suns will weather runs that New Orleans are bound to make.

Phoenix will finish the day at 47-31, which suddenly makes 50 wins attainable - the Suns can continue to show that the high-end outcome of winning an NBA title is within reach.

Suns-Pelicans is set to tip off shortly after 3:00 PM Arizona time.

Kevin Hicks