2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference: #1 Phoenix Suns vs #8 New Orleans Pelicans
Tale of the Tape:
|114.8 (5th)||Points Per Game||109.3 (21st)|
|107.3 (8th)||Points Allowed Per Game||110.3 (13th)|
|32-9 at home||Home/Away Record||17-24 on the road|
|9th||Pace of Play||21st|
|T-3rd||Off Efficiency Rating||20th|
|3rd||Def Efficiency Rating||20th|
Can’t Miss Offer From Caesars
- Devin Booker, SG: 26.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 38.3% 3PT
- Deandre Ayton, C: 17.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 63.4% FG
- Chris Paul, PG: 14.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.8 APG, 1.9 SPG
- CJ McCollum, SG: 24.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 39.4% 3PT
- Brandon Ingram, SF: 22.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG
- Jonas Valanciunas, C: 17.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 54.4% FG
- Zion Williamson, New Orleans: Foot (Out)
- Landry Shamet, Phoenix: Foot (Questionable)
Suns win the series 4-1
- Phoenix won the regular-season series 3-1, and every single game of the series was won by 13 points or more. It should also be noted that Chris Paul was out for the one game in which New Orleans beat Phoenix.
- This will be an uphill battle for New Orleans, but they’ve been playing really good basketball since C.J. McCollum came to town. However, it was Brandon Ingram who showed out in the win over the Clippers, scoring 30 points on 14-21 shooting with six rebounds and six assists. This was after scoring 27 points in the first Play-In game against San Antonio. The small forward is coming off his best season yet and will need to really rise to the occasion if his team has any hope of pulling the upset.
- The Phoenix defense will certainly come ready as one of the best defenses in the entire league. They allow the 3rd-lowest field goal percentage in the league and the 5th-lowest three-point percentage. They also force the 6th-most turnovers while turning the ball over the 7th-least in the NBA. They’re a disciplined and well-coached team that will have the schemes ready for this showdown.
- We’ll also see a big-time clash in the paint with Valanciunas going up against Ayton. While these two talented big men will battle for boards in the paint, the area that could factor most into deciding the series is on the defensive end. Valanciunas lacks elite athleticism, and Phoenix took advantage of that a lot in the regular season, using the pick-and-roll game to force the big man to cover either Booker or Paul on the perimeter. If New Orleans is not able to scheme against it then those guards are going to continue to hit Valanciunas alive and build big leads for the top seed.
- For New Orleans on the defensive end, the series might hinge on how well Herbert Jones can defend Devin Booker (see our featured image). Booker has been on fire in the second half of the series and has built off of his breakout season last year to become a true star in the league. However, Jones has emerged as a real defensive threat and has done well on Booker during the regular season, or as well as one can do against Booker. If the rookie is able to pester Booker and get a few steals, it could swing the momentum of some of these games.
- One other factor working against Phoenix is that they’ve had over a week off and their starters sat out the last game of the regular season. Could there be some rust involved? Even if there is, I simply don’t think it will linger long enough to matter. This is a deep and talented Suns team that should be a favorite to win the whole thing.