Phoenix Suns back on track after defeating New Orleans Pelicans in Game 3

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, left, works against New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones...
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, left, works against New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (5) in the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in New Orleans, Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael DeMocker)(Michael Democker | AP)
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 9:39 PM MST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Phoenix Suns are back on track after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 114-111 on Friday night. After losing star guard Devin Booker to a hamstring injury in Game 2, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul stepped up to lead the Suns to victory. Ayton and Paul both had double-doubles, finishing with 28 points apiece. Ayton added 17 rebounds, and Paul had 14 assists. The Suns are up 2-1 in the series.

In a back-and-forth game much like Game 2, both teams were neck and neck until the end. With 3:30 left in the game, the Suns were up 98-95 after Paul went on an eight-point run. Paul showed off his clutch genes, tacking on 20 points in the fourth quarter alone. Ayton grabbed a crucial rebound as Larry Nance Jr. went up for the three-point jumper but missed. Jae Crowder went for the jumper to widen the lead, putting the Suns up 102-95 with just over 2 minutes. Despite a buzzer-beater three-pointer by C.J. McCollum, it wasn’t enough to put the Pelicans in front.

Brandon Ingram and McCollum both had big nights for the Pelicans. Ingram scored 34 points, and McCollum added another 27. However, the Pelicans lost forward Jaxon Hayes to an ejection after shoving Crowder in the second quarter, earning a flagrant foul from the referees. Initially, no foul was called, but officials said there was unnecessary and excessive contact after review. A minute before the ejection, officials reviewed another play with Hayes where he met Landry Shamet at the rim, which was deemed a foul.

Booker was ruled out indefinitely with a mild hamstring strain on Wednesday. After a stellar first half in Game 2, scoring 31 points, Booker had to leave the game with less than five minutes in the third quarter. ESPN reported that he’d miss Game 4 as well.

Game 4 will be Sunday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m in New Orleans.