NBA Basketball

101
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Phoenix 25 21 28 27 101
New Orleans 28 20 40 35 123
123
6:30 PM PT7:30 PM MT8:30 PM CT9:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3021:30 ET8:30 PM CT0:30 , February 3, 2021
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 1,440

Surging Suns visit Pelicans looking for fourth straight win

According to STATS
According to STATS

Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans

  1. The Suns have won four of their last five against New Orleans, including a 111-86 victory in Phoenix on December 29. The 86 points the Pelicans scored were the fewest the Suns have allowed in a game since beating Orlando, 102-84, on March 4, 2016.
  2. The Suns are 7-4 on the road and have won three straight road games, including a pair in Dallas on Saturday and Monday. It's the Suns' second three-game road winning streak of the season, though they haven't won four straight away games since a five-game run in December 2014.
  3. Devin Booker's game-winning three with 1.6 seconds left against Dallas on Monday was the first shot that took the Suns from trailing to winning in the final three seconds of a game since Grant Hill scored a winning layup with 2.7 left against Orlando on December 12, 2008.
  4. New Orleans led by as many as 10 points in its loss to the Kings on Monday. It was the sixth time this season they lost a game in which they held a 10-point lead, tied with the Raptors for most in the NBA.
  5. Both Josh Hart (15 pts, 13 reb) and Willy Hernangomez (13 pts, 11 reb) posted double-doubles off the bench on Monday. It's the only time a pair of teammates have recorded double-doubles as reserves in a game this NBA season, and just the sixth time it's happened in Pelicans franchise history.
  6. The Pelicans attempt 25.0 free throws per game, fourth most in the NBA, but are shooting 71.4 percent from the line, worst in the league. The Suns are the second-best free throw shooting team in the league at .833, but they get to the line 18.9 times per game, second fewest in the league.

The Phoenix Suns' road trip has been more successful than the New Orleans Pelicans' homestand.

The Suns, winners of three straight and 2-0 on their trip, finish it Wednesday night in New Orleans, where the Pelicans have lost two straight after winning the first two games of their homestand.

Phoenix received a boost Monday when All-Star guard Devin Booker returned from a four-game absence due to a hamstring injury. He scored 24 points, including a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left that produced a 109-108 victory at Dallas.

"I've been waiting to get back out there," Booker said. "I think we're making a push right now."

Booker started slowly, scoring just four first-half points, but he heated up in the second half and the hamstring felt well enough for him to play the entire fourth quarter.

"He's got the heart to take those shots," Suns coach Monty Williams said of the game-winner. "I love when guys make those shots, but when you have the courage to take them and deal with the results, those are the things I look for when you are drawing up the play or when you're working with someone like Devin."

Fellow All-Star guard Chris Paul led the Suns with a season-high 34 points and added nine rebounds and nine assists.

"I was telling the guys in the locker room I don't know if I can ever retire," said Paul, who is in his 16th season. "There's no high like the energy when you're mad and then get to enjoy winning the games."

If the Pelicans are going to end their homestand on a winning note they're going to have to defend Booker and Paul better than they defended another standout guard -- Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox -- on Monday.

Fox had 38 points and 12 assists as the Kings came from behind in the fourth quarter to win 118-109.

The defensive breakdowns were a familiar problem for the Pelicans, who are just 5-11 during a stretch that began with a 111-86 loss at Phoenix on Dec. 29.

"We've just got to recommit ourselves to the defensive end," guard Josh Hart said, "focus on getting stops, focus on being in the right position, making the calls, communicating, having our teammates' back. Once we really focus in on those things this losing will cease."

Hart was one of two Pelicans to have a double-double off the bench. He finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Seldom-used center Willy Hernangomez took advantage of his first opportunity to play double-figure minutes this season and finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Hernangomez's opportunity came because of the absence of starting center Steven Adams, who has a sore calf. Jaxson Hayes started in Adams' place and Hernangomez assumed Hayes' usual role.

"Your decision becomes basically, 'Are you going to play him and take the minutes from a young guy like Jaxson Hayes?'" coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That's what it comes down to, and that's really as simple as a decision gets. It's either he or Jaxson when Steven's back healthy."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 2, 2021

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