Devin Booker scored 23 points on a 9/18 shooting mark as the Suns topped the Pelicans 132-114 at the Smoothie King Center.
The win is a welcome sight for a Phoenix troupe that needed a morale boost after collapsing vs. the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night.
In a reversal of Tuesdays collapse, the Suns went on a 37-7 run to start the fourth and put the game out of reach before the Pelicans knew what hit them.
They put on a complete display of calculated, high-powered offensive wizardry throughout the matchup, especially the fourth.
Their mantra was clear from the start: dominate the paint.
The Pels’ also had a clear strategy in their minds: feed Zion the rock, and let him eat.
It was Williamson who kicked off their scoring burst in the affair, throwing down a thunderous jam, before Ayton jabbed NO right back with a calm spot-up 15-foot jumper on a Chris Paul assist.
Both teams got contributions from their less frequent shot-makers in the first quarter as well, as Frank Kaminsky and Willy Hernangomez writ their names on the team’s box score. Kaminsky knocked down two 3’s, and Ayton had six points as the Suns entered the second up one, 34-33.
The second quarter continued as a back-and-forth slobberknocker rife with scoring. Brandon Ingram started to imprint his stamp onto the game, and looked fluid and smooth as he found his spots and connected with a few jumpers. Mikal Bridges also began the period on a high note, finding pay dirt with a two-handed rim-rocker.
No team usurped a seven-point advantage throughout the first half, and scoring, plus defensive efficiency remained even for the most part, but New Orleans blasted off on a 9-2 run to close the quarter, and went into the break leading 66-59.
One glaring disparity: three-point efficacy, and the Suns would utilize a fiery shooting stroke to catapult them to a wondrous third quarter showing.
CP3 kicked off their offensive onslaught in the third, but New Orleans responded with a barrage of inside flurries targeted for Williamson – which included a savvy backdoor alley-oop lob from Lonzo Ball.
But Phoenix showcased an aggressive resurgence, and an emphatic effort to interrupt passing lanes, leak out fast break sprinters, and score early on in several possessions.
Kaminsky continued his scoring surge, remaining perfect from the floor until midway through the period, posting 17 points on a whopping 5-5 mark from deep before misfiring.
Then Lonzo Ball caught fire. He worked his way to the free throw line, showing a much improved deep ball that vaulted his team to an impressive run to finish out the quarter. The Pels led 89-86 after Devin Booker made a layup with three minutes to play, but edged the Suns 102-91 as the culminating buzzer sounded.
Phoenix didn't mess around in the fourth.
Their seventh-ranked defensive fortitude was on full display, and they held NO to just 12 points as they charged back into contention.
Ayton flashed a complete offensive arsenal, and hurt his opponents through post ups, pick and rolls, and face up drives. Chris Paul closed the door on the Pels hopes with a savvy shot creation, and several deft passes. And Cam Johnson? Sheesh. The man was consistent as ever, but his throw-down with just over seven minutes to play opened his team’s momentum floodgates wide open.
It was an exhaustive display from a group that’s primed to make a deep run into the playoffs. And they’re showing the full breadth of their shooting touch, defensive capabilities, and mental valiancy that will allow them to do so.
My player of the game: Deandre Ayton – 16 PTS, 7/12 FG, 16 REB, 2 AST, 1 BLK, +20 PM.
And Chris Paul HAS to be an honorable mention for his 19 assists alone.