The Suns Rise And Fall with Chris Paul

Phoenix is now firmly second in the NBA Western Conference odds. That’s likely not to change unless the unthinkable happens and the Suns get eliminated in the first round.

The Golden State Warriors remain firm at +130 favorite in terms of the Western Conference pecking order. Defending champion Phoenix has regressed a little again to +220. Series wins and losses do have a slight effect but that Chris Paul Game 4 performance was a little unsettling.

It does look like Devin Booker will not be back in this series. One thing is for sure. Chris Paul will bounce back from this Game 4 performance. How much is the question?  Some did argue it was Scott Foster’s doing. However, this was a turning point.

Paul did have 11 assists but little went right for the guard, especially in the second half. He has to facilitate and then let the play come to him.

Where was the Ayton from Game 3?

What is crazy is the following – Deandre Ayton was the most consistent player on the floor for Phoenix in Game 4. He was 11 for 14 from the field and had 23 points overall. The center played almost 33 minutes while avoiding foul trouble.  The guy has been a walking double-double normally. Ayton only had eight rebounds in Game 4 but that was partly due to a third-quarter where nothing worked right.

There are some concerns in Ayton’s game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. His -11 was not as bad as some of the other main Phoenix starters. However, too many times, the center got caught out trying to cover players. This did get to the point where he looked almost a step slow.

It was that third quarter where Ayton was beaten several times down low and then got beaten on mid-range jumpers from CJ McCollum. Where was the Ayton from Game 3? Well, where was the Phoenix from Game 3?

New Orleans Not Worried About Depth Issues

Brandon Ingram’s 30 points led the Pelicans in their Game 3 victory. Their starters totaled 89 points in all, including 18 from CJ McCollum. However, the biggest surprise may have been Jonas Valanciunas who dropped 26 on the Phoenix Suns Sunday night.

Ingram and Valanciunas gouged Phoenix repeatedly during the second half on Sunday night. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Suns vs Pelicans Prediction

Phoenix is now 6-3 ATS in their last nine games against the Pelicans. And the total has gone over in each of the past seven games in which Phoenix was playing in New Orleans. Now, the Suns are 2-7 as a favorite in their last nine games (both wins came against New Orleans).

However, one thing is clear. Phoenix is in a drought from distance. They went 7 for 27 in Game 4 and part of that has to be the defense from New Orleans. The Pelicans scrap and claw hard.

Chris Paul has to be a positive difference again. At the very least, the pace continues to be high enough for the over.

Pick: Over 215.5 (-110)

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