NBA Playoffs Tips & Preview – Suns @ Pelicans (Game 3)

The playoffs are underway and the daily preview takes it to the rim with NBA tips for Game 3 as Phoenix Suns look to bounce back from an upset against New Orleans Pelicans. 

11:30 (AEST), Sat 23rd Apr @ Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

History: Played 70: Suns 37 V Pelicans 33

Last meeting: April 20, 2022: Pelicans 125 d Suns 114 at Footprint Center

Final Thoughts: Phoenix Suns’ expected comfortable passage through to the Western Conference Semi-finals has been rocked by a Game 2 upset and an injury to Devin Booker.

The top-seeded Suns overcame New Orleans Pelicans 110-99 in the First Round series opener after a fast start. Star trio Chris Paul (30 pts, 7 reb, 10 ast, 3 stl), Booker (25 pts, 8 ast) and Deandre Ayton (21 pts, 9 reb) commenced their second playoffs campaign together in blistering style. CJ McCollum (25 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast) top-scored for the Pels, while big man Jonas Valunciunas (18 pts, 25 reb) was a monster on the boards.

But the Pelicans, who won their way to the eighth seed from the play-in tournament after finishing the regular season in ninth, levelled the series with a stunning 125-114 Game 2 result in Phoenix.

The Suns led by five at halftime but Booker – who put up 31 points in 24 minutes, including seven threes – exited in the third quarter and the game swung. Brandon Ingram (37 pts, 11 reb, 9 ast) took over, with McCollum (23 pts, 8 reb, 9 ast) again productive. The Pelicans shot 17-of-30 from three-point range, compared to the Suns’ 13-of-35.

Booker’s hamstring will keep him out of Game 3. Cameron Johnson, a solid bench contributor, will get his 17th start this start this season.

The Pelicans are playing with confidence and grit on the back of core trio Ingram, McCollum and Valunciunas. They’ll be desperate to parlay their surprise Game 2 W into a lead back in New Orleans.

The Suns are a modest 8-6 without Booker this season, but Paul and Ayton will be primed to pick up the scoring slack. The Championship favourites are $1.73 to take back the lead here and I think they’ll do it, albeit narrowly.

Best Bet: Margin – Suns 1-10 @ $2.84

Same Game Multi: Tri Bet – Either Team by 8pts or Less; Total – Over 224.5; Chris Paul Points – Over 20.5; Deandre Ayton Points – Over 19.5; Brandon Ingram Points – Over 25.5 @ $16.74