Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans will meet in the NBA playoffs second game on Tuesday evening. The home side looks forward to capitalizing on playing on the home court and securing a 2-0 advantage. The visitors will search for a chance to bounce back and produce a surprise at Footprint Center.
Phoenix seeks consistency in the post-season, and they are on the right track in this tie. Another win in front of the home crowd would put them in a commanding position. On the other hand, New Orleans heads to another tough game, but the away side doesn’t want to give up. Despite losing the first match, they showed a positive attitude to get back in the game after being heavily down at halftime.
Phoenix Suns – Can they remain confident on the home court?
The Suns cruised to the victory in the series opener thanks to an excellent defensive display in the first half. They allowed just 34 points in the first two periods and were 19 points ahead of the Pelicans. Although Phoenix couldn’t maintain that standard in the back, they didn’t allow the opponent to get back into the match. Eventually, they celebrated a 110-99 win, having a very good 53.8 field goal percentage, despite being very inferior in the paint.
Chris Paul led their way to the victory in the opening game of the post-season by scoring 30 points, followed by a team-high ten assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and one block for 35 minutes on the court. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton finished the game in the 20s, with Ayton having nine rebs. Cameron Johnson managed to contribute with 13 pts for 23 minutes, while Mikal Bridges chipped in with 11 points. Phoenix will enter this match with a clean bill of health, and all players should be available to make appearances.
Expected Line-Up: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton
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New Orleans Pelicans – Are they capable of stunning the rival?
The Pelicans’ poor first half cost them a chance to challenge the Suns in their first game of the series. Despite dominating the paint with 20 rebounds more than their rivals, New Orleans had a very poor 37.9 field goal percentage. Although they managed to score more points in the third period than in the first half, New Orleans couldn’t do more than a 110-99 defeat. Nevertheless, they won’t give up on this tie, and the visitors hope to improve their shooting numbers in this one.
CJ McCollum was the Pelicans’ most efficient player in the tie opener with 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal, and a block with only three minutes on the bench. Jonas Valanciunas was unbeatable in the paint, logging monstrous 25 rebounds, followed by 18 points and three assists. Brandon Ingram also produced 18 pts, while Larry Nance Jr. contributed with 14 pts, six rebounds, three assists, and a steal. The visitors also won’t have any selection issues, and all players should be available.
Expected Line-Up: CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, Jaxson Hayes, Jonas Valanciunas
Expert Pick #1 – Phoenix Suns -9.5 @-110
The Suns should easily go 2-0 up in this tie, although I think the Pelicans won’t be as bad as in the first game. Phoenix should enjoy another confident performance, and I see them celebrating a win by ten or more points. I’m going to take them ATS as my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 221.5 @-110
The Pelicans have been involved in many low-scoring matches lately since 16 of their previous 22 road games stayed under the margin. The Under cashed six times in a row for the Suns, and I expect a similar trend in this one. Give me the Under as the second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – New Orleans Pelicans Under 105.5 @-115
Although New Orleans can produce more than 100 points in this one, I don’t see them going over a 105.5 margin. The Suns should keep their defense tight despite their poor work in picking up the ball. That’s going to be my third pick at slightly lower odds than the first two.