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Game Preview: Suns try to make it 2-0 without Paul, face Pelicans at home

Post All-Star break the Suns have not missed a beat and look to continue their run against the Pelicans at home.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (49-10) vs New Orleans Pelicans (23-36)

When: 7:00 PM AZ time

Where: Footprint Center

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM


After Devin Booker led the Phoenix Suns to their first victory without Chris Paul this season, a second win is within reach against a New Orleans Pelicans team that fights, but still might not have enough.

Taking the league by storm last year, the Suns were able to avoid major injuries. This season, the injuries hit hard, and now without Paul, the task is to remain distant with the one seed in the West until Paul comes back.

A possible MVP candidate this year, Paul will still be a coach and the team will always continue the focus to put teams away night in and night out.


The Starting Lineups

Phoenix

  1. Devin Booker
  2. Cameron Johnson
  3. Jae Crowder
  4. Mikal Bridges
  5. Deandre Ayton

Pelicans

  1. Herbert Jones
  2. CJ McCollum
  3. Brandon Ingram
  4. Jaxson Hayes
  5. Jonas Valanciunas

The Suns Report

Last night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder displayed the power of the Suns bench. Between Aaron Holiday and Torrey Craig, defensive stability and shot selection assists the bench maintain their focus during crucial times in the game. The depth of the Suns will be tested with Paul out, and after one game, they receive an A- for their performance.

The goal is this continues against the Zion-less Pelicans. Yes, there are times when the second unit will allow a run. That is just part of the game. Overall, however, their consistency is the backbone of this team and is what has allowed the team to hold a league-bets record at 49-10. What Holiday and Craig bring with the effort they put forth on both ends of the floor feeds into Landry Shamet and a JaVale McGee.

McGee already brings the energy, right? I really believe that they Suns have a great trio coming off the bench at three different levels with Craig, Holiday, and McGee.

With more time, they should be able to blend even more, and when Paul comes back, Cameron Johnson will join them, creating shots as he has done all season and becoming the extra weapon the bench needs to hold leads until the starting unit gets back onto the floor.


The Pelicans Report

What the Pelicans need is the return of Zion Williamson, but what they got is CJ McCollum. For now, the franchise couldn’t of asked for a better role model and player to light up the score board and keep the fans interested.

5 games in and McCollum is averaging 28.5 points per game. The positive energy he brings to the floor will play well off of Brandon Ingram who is kind of forgotten.

What can you do as a franchise when it is just a waiting game until your franchise player comes back? If he ever does.

Maybe change your names to something else besides the Pelicans. It’s not cool. It might be as simple as that. Kevin Durant went the Brooklyn Nets because they were cooler than the New York Knicks. That’s all there is to it.

What name should they change it to? Also, what city should they move to?


My Prediction

I am frustrated with Ayton, then I’ll realize what a great impact he is having.

This is Ayton's game to win and dominate. I see the Suns winning in a close one 111-108.