The Suns had to wait a little longer to find out who they’ll be playing in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, but the matchup is now set.
In defeating the Clippers in the final game of the Play-In Tournament, the Pelicans earned the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. With it comes an opportunity to play the top-seeded Suns in the first round.
The Suns ran away with the league’s best record this season, winning a franchise-best 64 games. The Pelicans managed to go 36-46 despite starting ice cold and not having Zion Williamson at all. They made one of the biggest moves at the trade deadline, acquiring CJ McCollum from the Trail Blazers.
The Suns won the season series, 3-1. Led by 32 points from McCollum, the Pelicans’ lone victory ended an eight-game winning streak by the Suns.
Can the Pelicans push the Suns? Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.
MORE: Watch the NBA playoffs on Sling TV (US only)
One stat to know: Suns thrive in the clutch
The Suns were at their best when it mattered most this season.
According to NBA.com, 42 of Phoenix’s games were decided in the clutch (last five minutes of a five-point game). Its record in those situations? 33-9. It’s the best winning percentage a team has posted in those situations since the 2015-16 Warriors, who set a single-season NBA record with 73 wins.
The leaders of Phoenix’s crunch-time heroics were — who else? — Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
Their numbers are almost too good to be true. Only 20 players scored more points than Paul in the clutch on the season, and he shot 56.8 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range with the game on the line. He also led all players with 34 assists while committing only six turns. Booker was even more cold-blooded than his All-Star teammate, ranking 11th in scoring with 56.9/40.9/77.1 shooting splits.
That volume of scoring with that level of efficiency is not normal.
On the other end, the Suns swarmed teams defensively, limiting their opponents to 98.2 points per 100 possessions, tied for the best defensive rating in the league.
So not only are the Suns almost impossible to stop at the end of games, they’re also almost impossible to score against.
Suns vs. Pelicans schedule, TV channels
Viewers in the US can stream every NBA Playoff game live on SLING TV. With the SLING Orange Sports Extra package, get $10 off your first month now with access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, TNT and NBATV. NBA Playoff games on ABC are simulcast on ESPN3, which is included with SLING Orange, available for $35 per month including $25 the first month for new subscribers.
Click here for broadcast information in your local region.
(All times Eastern)
|April 17||Game 1 in Phoenix||9 pm||TNT|
|April 19||Game 2 in Phoenix||10 pm||TNT|
|April 22||Game 3 in New Orleans||TBD||ESPN|
|April 24||Game 4 in New Orleans||9:30 pm||TNT|
|April 26||Game 5 in Phoenix*||TBD||TBD|
|April 28||Game 6 in New Orleans*||TBD||TBD|
|April 30||Game 7 in Phoenix*||TBD||TNT|
Suns vs. Pelicans odds
Odds provided by DraftKings.
Suns vs. Pelicans predictions
Scott Rafferty: Suns in four games
Jordan Greer: Suns in four games
Nick Metallinos: Suns in five games
Leandro Fernandez: Suns in four games
Gilbert McGregor: Suns in five games
Carlan Gay: Suns in five games
Kevin Skiver: Suns in four games
Micah Adams: Suns in four games
Steph Noh: Suns in five games