Bet CP3, Phoenix to rebound

Suns vs. Pelicans Odds

Ratings of the suns -2.5
The odds of the pelicans +2.5
More less 215.5
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After losing Devin Booker to injury and dropping Game 2 to the New Orleans Pelicans in the process, the Phoenix Suns are looking to reclaim the series lead with a meaningful Game 3 win.

Are the potential roadblocks here too difficult to overcome? Let’s find out about this match below.

Suns still elite despite injuries

As noted above, the Suns face some adversity here for what appears to be the first time this season. Although they suffered injuries, they never felt like it would seriously hamper Phoenix’s ability to win a championship. That is, until now.

The Suns are no longer favorites to win the NBA Finals following news that Booker will miss at least the next two games with Grade 1 hamstring strain, and considering they are now tied for 1 -1 in their opening series against New Orleans.

As for how the Suns play without Booker, well, they’re still very good. Phoenix had a net rating of +4.7 in the minutes his two guards were on the ground according to against a +9.5 with him on the ground.

The most significant difference was his offensive production, which was down about 10 points per 100 possessions when Booker sat. Defensively, the Suns actually improved by 5.3 points per 100 possessions.

That said, the Suns were outscored by eight points after Booker was injured in Game 2 and didn’t appear to follow the above trends. They left the field 57.1% in the fourth quarter to see New Orleans knock down 65% of their looks and go 6 of 8 from three.

Can Pelicans replicate their hot shot?

Yes, that was an offensive masterclass from the Pelicans in Game 2. A team that ranked 18th on that end all year and 10th in the second half of the season ended up shooting 54.8% on the field and 56.7 percent on three in an 11-point win over Phoenix.

The blows never stopped falling either. The Pelicans shot well over 40% in each quarter, but definitely activated it late with a 67.5% mark from the field in the second half of the game and a strong 8-of-11-for-three performance. They just couldn’t have played better on that side, and while there was a strong charge from Phoenix, New Orleans’ finish would still keep it to a tame 53 points in the second half.

The main reason the Pelicans were able to hurt the Suns was Brandon Ingram. He had 26 in the second half and knocked down seven boards, contributing to a massive play on the glass that saw New Orleans pass Phoenix by 10.

It’s an advantage the Pelicans have always had over the Suns and one that won’t change much in light of Booker’s injury; they ranked third all year in rebounding and possess the best rebounding rate of any team alive in the playoffs right now.

Peak Suns-Pelicans

It’s hard to say the Suns are a bad team without Booker given how many they have with him off the field.

It’s also easy to tell that the Pelicans won’t be shooting close to 55 percent from the field all series like they did in the second half of Game 2.

It’s a brand that’s simply unsustainable and well out of character. They were just 34.3% behind the arc in shooting after the all-star break and a team that was barely in the top 10 in efficiency.

While New Orleans will still be able to bully Phoenix on the inside, I’m not entirely sure that will make much of a difference here. I expect regression to set in for the Pelicans and a very stable Suns team that won without Booker this season.

Phoenix did little harm after his injury and simply watched the Pelicans knock down every shot they looked. Over a longer period of time, the better team will win.

To take: ML Suns (-120)

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