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After Devin Booker exits injured, Pelicans push past Suns

Apr 19, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during the first quarter during game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Ingram recorded 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and the New Orleans Pelicans evened their first-round playoff series against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns at one game apiece with a solid 125-114 road triumph on Tuesday night.

CJ McCollum made six 3-pointers and had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the eighth-seeded Pelicans outplayed the powerful Suns.

Phoenix star Devin Booker scored 31 points but departed in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Mikal Bridges tallied 19 points, and Chris Paul added 17 points and 14 assists but shot just 5-for-16 from the field.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven Western Conference series is Friday night at New Orleans.

Booker exited with 4:35 left in the third quarter and headed back to the locker room to be examined. He was ruled out early in the fourth.

Booker put up all of his points in the first half. He finished 12 of 19 on field-goal attempts and was 7 of 11 from 3-point range.

Hebert Jones added 14 points and Larry Nance Jr. had 13 for New Orleans, which outscored Phoenix 69-53 in the second half. Jonas Valanciunas contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans.

New Orleans shot 54.8 percent from the field, including a stellar 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) from 3-point range.

Cameron Johnson scored 11 points and Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee added 10 apiece for the Suns, who made 50 percent of their shots and were 13 of 35 (37.1 percent) from behind the arc.

New Orleans trailed by five at halftime before outscoring the Suns 34-22 in the third quarter to take a seven-point advantage.

Ingram scored 14 points while helping the Pelicans shoot a blistering 70 percent (14 off 20) in the third period. New Orleans rattled off eight straight points to start a 19-7 stretch and take a nine-point lead before settling for a 90-83 advantage entering the final stanza.

Jose Alvarado’s 3-pointer gave the Pelicans a 105-99 lead with 5:19 remaining. Ingram sank a trey to make it 113-106 with 3:40 left and buried another 59 seconds later to increase the lead to 118-110.

However, without Booker, the Suns were unable to make a final charge.

Booker scored 16 points in the first quarter and 15 in the second, and the Suns held a 61-56 lead at the break.

–Field Level Media