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Paul and Ayton lead Suns without Booker past Pelicans


NEW ORLEANS – Chris Paul scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Phoenix Suns overcame the absence of Devin Booker to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 114-111 on Friday night in Game 3 of the series. first round.

Deandre Ayton added 28 points and 17 rebounds to help the top-seeded Suns take a 2-1 series lead. Paul scored 15 of Phoenix’s first 23 points in the final quarter. He also had 14 assists.

Booker strained his right hamstring on Tuesday night after scoring 31 first-half points in a 125-114 home loss. He sat on the bench in Game 3.

Mikal Bridges had 17 points for the Suns. Backup center JaVale McGee scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting as the Suns hurt the Pelicans on the inside.

Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 34 points. CJ McCollum was 30.

Chris Paul heads for the basket in the Suns’ Game 3 win over the Pelicans.
NBAE via Getty Images

Game 4 is Sunday night in New Orleans.

Jose Alvarado kept the Pelicans in the fourth with seven straight points, but Paul responded with five straight points and an assist to tie it at 90 with 6:32 left. Paul then had eight straight points for a 98-93 lead.

The Suns took their biggest lead, 66-53, early in the third quarter, but New Orleans used a 12-0 run over the next 2:43 to move to 66-63. McCollum was the catalyst with a 3-pointer and a layup, and New Orleans shot 81-79 early in the fourth quarter on a 31-22 third-period streak.

Deandre Ayton (22) finished with a record 28 points.
Getty Images

McCollum’s 16-foot jumper with 5:13 left in the first half tied it at 43, but with the ball in the air Pelicans forward Jaxson Hayes slammed into Jae Crowder, who stood on the baseline near the basket. Hayes’ shoulder-to-chest foul was reviewed and earned him a flagrant foul 2 and an ejection.

That dust sparked a 16-5 run in Phoenix to close out the half, and the Suns led 59-48 at intermission.

Ayton, who was limited to just 10 points in a Game 2 loss to New Orleans, had 21 points in the half on 10-of-14 shooting, with four of his baskets coming from Paul.

New York Post

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