Since both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns have been eliminated from playoff contention, they have little to nothing left to play for. This will be the 6th time in the last eight seasons that the Pelicans will miss the postseason, partly due to the distraction caused by rumors that Anthony Davis was going to team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles halfway through the season.
As for the Arizona ball club, this will mark the ninth straight season that the Suns will miss the playoffs. The last time they made a postseason appearance was back in 2010 when Amar’e Stoudemire was leading the team in points per game. They ended up losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, 2-4. As they host the Pelicans tonight, they will hope to avoid a second straight loss.
The Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans have battled each other a grand total of 58 times in the past as both teams have a tied matchup record at 29 wins apiece. This meeting will mark the fourth and final time that these two teams will play each other during this season. The last time they saw each other was on March 16 when the Suns pulled away with a 138-136 win. Devin Booker finished that game with 40 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, and one block while Julius Randle had 21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and one steal.
New Orleans Pelicans:
-Trevon Bluiett (thumb)
-Anthony Davis (back; 25.9 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 51.7 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 79.4 FT%)
-Jrue Holiday (abdominal; 21.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.7 APG, 47.2 FG%, 32.5 3P%, 76.8 FT%)
-Frank Jackson (concussion; 8.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 43.4 FG%, 31.4 3P%, 74.0 FT%)
-Darius Miller (thigh; 8.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 39.0 FG%, 36.5 3P%, 78.9 FT%)
-E’Twaun Moore (quad; 11.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 48.1 FG%, 43.2 3P%, 76.3 FT%)
-Stanley Johnson (ankle; 6.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 38.9 FG%, 28.8 3P%, 78.1 FT%)
-Deandre Ayton (ankle; 16.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 58.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 74.6 FT%)
-Devin Booker (ankle; 26.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 6.8 FT%, 46.7 FG%, 32.6 3P%, 86.6 FT%)
-Richaun Holmes (ankle; 8.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 60.8 FG%, 73.1 FT%)
-Tyler Johnson (knee; 10.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 41.3 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 74.8 FT%)
-Kelly Oubre (thumb; 15.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 44.5 FG%, 32.0 3P%, 77.5 FT%)
-T.J. Warren (ankle; 18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 48.6 FG%, 42.8 3P%, 81.5 FT%)
-Jimmer Fredette (coach’s decision; 5.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 32.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-George King (0.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
The New Orleans Pelicans would have the slight upper hand in the first half as they shot sixty-seven percent from the field, holding the home team at fifty-four percent shooting. Former Utah Jazz’ guard Ian Clark got hot for 18 points while hitting 3 three-pointers in the first period. He also had two rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and one block while Julius Randle helped out with 12 points on fifty-five percent shooting. Kenrich Williams saw to it that he got nine points on a perfect one-hundred percent shooting. He also drilled a three-pointer to end the first quarter. Solomon Hill played 12 minutes off the bench but only had three points.
As for the Phoenix Suns, Ray Spalding earned 12 points as he shot eighty-five percent from the field. Troy Daniels also had 12 points off the bench, collecting them all from beyond the arc. California-native Josh Jackson chalked up 10 points, which included two three-pointers. Jamal Crawford played the most minutes off the Phoenix bench as he lit the floor up with 16 points, hitting two three-pointers in the second quarter. He also had one rebound, 2 assists, and 2 steals but it was the Louisiana ball club that went into halftime with a 76-65 lead.
The Suns would come out of the locker room with more of a purpose as they went on a 52 to 41 run, completing forty-three percent of their shots, limiting the Pelicans to thirty-four percent. During that run, Jackson added to his scoring total as he put up 17 more points, knocking down a three-pointer in the fourth quarter. He also earned 7 rebounds and 2 assists while Crawford scored 10 more points off the bench.
On the other end of the court, Julius Randle earned 17 more points on fifty percent shooting. Cheick Diallo played the most minutes off the bench as he had six points but it was the Arizona team that would complete the comeback, forcing overtime where they would eventually pull out a 133 to 126 victory behind Josh Jackson’s eight overtime points. Josh Jackson finished the contest with a season-high 35 points, along with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals while Julius Randle settled for 31 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The New Orleans Pelicans will head over West to battle Buddy Hield (21.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 46.0 FG%, 42.9 3P%) and the Sacramento Kings (39-40) on Sunday at 9:00 p.m. This meeting will mark the fourth and final matchup between these two teams this season. The last time they battled each other was on March 28 when the Pelicans pulled away with a 121-118 win. During that game, Julius Randle scored 34 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and dished off 3 assists while Buddy Hield recorded 27 points, 2 rebounds, and one assist.
The Phoenix Suns will take on James Harden (36.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 44.1 FG%, 36.5 3P%) and the Houston Rockets (51-28) on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. This will be the third and final time that the Suns and Rockets will battle each other during this season. March 15 was the last time they saw each other as the Suns fell to the Texas team, 102-108. James Harden finished that contest with 41 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists, 6 steals, and 3 blocks while Devin Booker settled for 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.