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Game Preview: Suns host shorthanded Pelicans

The feisty and talented Pelicans gave the Suns a good challenge in last year’s playoffs.

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (3-1) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (3-1).

When: Friday, 7:00 PM AZ time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: ESPN, Bally Sports

Listen: 98.7 FM

Two talented teams off to good starts will clash in Phoenix Friday night, as the hometown Suns face the Pelicans out of The Big Easy. Both squads have started 3-1, and both figure to be firmly in the playoff mix as the season goes on.

This will be the teams’ first meeting since the Suns eliminated the Pelicans in six games in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Betting Lines

The Suns are currently 3.5 point favorites over the Pels, per Draftkings.

Probable Starting Lineups


  • PG: Chris Paul
  • SG: Devin Booker
  • SF: Mikal Bridges
  • PF: Cam Johnson
  • C: Deandre Ayton


  • PG: Jose Alvarado
  • SG: CJ McCollum
  • SF: Trey Murphy III
  • PF: Zion Williamson
  • C: Jonas Valančiūnas

Opponent Notes:

The Pelicans are already banged up in this young season, and will be missing at least one of their best players as leading scorer Brandon Ingram has been placed on concussion protocol. Zion Williamson, a physically dominant player, may or may not be available to New Orleans with a hip contusion.

Playing without either star, though, the Pelicans are still dangerous. They proved as much this week with a 113-111 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in which Trey Murphy III had an absolutely charmed night with 22 points on perfect 8/8 shooting. Exactly what lineups the Suns will be facing are hard to predict without knowing who is good to go, but whether Zion is ready or not the Pelicans are a capable team.



  • Jae Crowder (not with team) is OUT
  • Ish Wainwright (back) is listed as day-to-day.

New Orleans:

  • Brandon Ingram (concussion) is OUT
  • Zion Williamson (hip) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Herbert Jones (knee) is QUESTIONABLE
  • CJ McCollum (right third PIP strain) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Dyson Daniels (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Jose Alvarado (low back pain) is QUESTIONABLE
  • E.J. Liddell and Kira Lewis Jr. (knees) are both OUT


There have been some swings in this young season, fellow Suns fans. The first half of the season opener felt like reliving last season’s Game 7 nightmare, and the second half felt like an enormously fun thriller. The second game loss to the Blazers was tough, but the Suns have seemed to have overflowing confidence since then with their two convincing wins against teams expected to be among the class of the Western Wonference in the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.

I expect that confidence to continue, and I expect the Pelicans will be hurt by the absence of Ingram and possibly Williamson.

The Suns win 121-107, as the Pelicans just can’t keep pace with Booker’s blistering point scoring.

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