Suns vs. Pelicans score, takeaways: Brandon Ingram leads New Orleans to crucial win over Phoenix in Game 2

We officially have a series on our hands. The New Orleans Pelicans made a late push against the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 and scored a 125-114 win over the No. 1 Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Led by a 37-point performance from Brandon Ingram and another 23 points from CJ McCollum, the Pelicans held off a Phoenix team that struggled until the end of the game. Few people expected New Orleans to win a game in this series, but now the Pelicans will head back to Louisiana with a win under their belt and momentum for Game 3.

On the other hand, the Suns have never really been able to build a big enough lead to open this game. But while that defeat leaves a bad taste in Phoenix’s mouth, the biggest concern is the health of Devin Booker, who went out in the third quarter with a hamstring strain. He did not return to the game after scoring 31 points in the first half, and is expected to have an MRI on his injured hamstring.

Here are three takeaways from the Pelicans’ Game 2 win over the Suns.

1. Brandon Ingram was unstoppable

There was a point early in the third quarter where Ingram seemed to be working a little with each stumble. He grimaced after every possession in attack and seemed to favor one side as he moved cautiously in defence. It was later discovered that he sprained his ankle at some point when he landed awkwardly after a pitch.

Here’s how the injury occurred:

As painful as that sounded, it never kept Ingram out of the game for a significant amount of time, and it certainly didn’t slow down his output for the Pelicans. The Suns didn’t have an answer for the all-night forward, sprained ankle and all. He was punching 3s, attacking the rim with great finesse, and was making incredibly hard shots from mid-range as well. Ingram’s 10 points in the fourth quarter proved to be decisive for New Orleans, who fought tooth and nail for this win against the Suns.

It didn’t really matter who the Suns put in front of Ingram, he was burning every defender in sight. Ingram’s game has always stood out because of its unique skill in its size. He moves so gracefully around the court, and his ability to score on all three levels makes him a difficult task for even the best perimeter defender. He was feasting on smaller defenders on the block, killing them with bouncers. If it wasn’t for that, then he was turning off the screens to make room and punch mid-range jumpers.

Ingram was dominant from start to finish against the Suns, and Phoenix will have to figure out a way to contain him in Game 3, because now it doesn’t look like anyone will be able to hold him back.

2. All eyes on Devin Booker’s hamstring injury

The Suns looked like they were going to get away with this game largely due to Booker’s 31 points in the first half. He simply looked carefree in the first two quarters, increasing the difficulty level every 3 points they found the back of the net. But after leaving the game midway through the third quarter, many people began to notice that Booker was not on the bench. Before the start of the fourth quarter, Suns coach Monty Williams said there was a possibility that Booker was dealing with a right hamstring injury, which the team later confirmed was a right hamstring strain and listed him for the remainder. about the game.

While it’s not completely certain when Booker suffered the injury, Williams said after the game that it likely happened when Booker was attempting a chase block in the transition during the third quarter. He could be seen grimacing as he stumbled out of bounds, and Phoenix immediately asked for a timeout after this happened and removed him from the game.

Here’s the play where Williams thinks the injury likely occurred:

It was a significant blow to the Suns, who had severely lost Booker’s elite throwing ability as the Pelicans continued to dominate the game. But while the Game 2 loss may hurt now for Phoenix, Booker’s long-term health is certainly the priority for this team going forward. Booker is expected to do an MRI on the tendon to see the severity of the injury, by TNTand we’ll know more when those results are announced.

This isn’t the first time Booker has dealt with a hamstring injury this season. In December, he missed seven games with a left hamstring injury and had previous problems with his hamstrings throughout his career. The Suns are hoping this injury isn’t as serious as the one in November and that with the two days off between now and Game 3 on Friday, he’ll have enough time to rest and prepare for the match.

Booker being healthy is absolutely essential to the Suns’ title hopes. If he misses significant time with this injury, it will hurt the team a lot. While Phoenix has tons of talent up and down this list, we saw in Game 2 that there really isn’t another player on this team that possesses the kind of elite shooting skill that Booker has. If the Suns need a bucket, they usually know they can count on Booker to get one, and without him on the ground during Game 2, Phoenix’s offense was really stagnant, especially in the home stretch. We’ll have to wait and see the severity of this injury for Booker and the Suns.

3. New Orleans youth stepping up

Ingram and McCollum did most of the heavy lifting for the Pelicans tonight, but they didn’t secure this victory for the Pelicans alone. Credit also needs to be given to the sheer amount of youngsters New Orleans has that didn’t dodge the moment in Game 2. Forward Jaxson Hayes gave the Pelicans a spark early in the second half, showing his bizarre athleticism in transitioning to New Orleans. Orleans. He had some key blocks that stopped the momentum from swinging in the Suns’ favor and didn’t try to force anything at either end of the court.

Then there was the standout performance of rookie Herb Jones, who scored 14 points for New Orleans. In Game 1 it was rookie Trey Murphy III who finished the night with 14 points, and tonight Jones carried the torch for the rookies as he did it at both ends of the court. Throughout the season, Jones was praised for his defensive prowess, and while this was certainly showcased in Game 2, what was even more impressive was his production on offense. He’s not known for being a consistent threat at that end of the court, but tonight his contributions definitely made a difference for the Pelicans. Jones is typically left open on the perimeter, due to the fact that he only shot 33% deep in the regular season. But he went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, as Phoenix challenged him to shoot from afar. It certainly didn’t work out the way the Suns wanted, and it will now give Jones some confidence in the future of this series.

The young Pelicans showed a lot of composure every time the Suns tried to make a run, and they just kept the course and executed Coach Willie Green’s plan to perfection. After recovering from a big deficit in the Game 1 loss and getting a win in the second match, these Pelicans look like they can fight for the rest of the series.

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