Pelicans Squeak by Suns in Tight Season Series Finale

Feb 13, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) reacts to a call made in the second half of the NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The New Orleans Pelicans won 110-108. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 13, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) reacts to a call made in the second half of the NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The New Orleans Pelicans won 110-108. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports /

You really can’t get much closer than how close the Suns came last night, and still not win.


In a game that was 18 times tied, featured 26 lead changes, and in which the largest lead for either side was 12 points, the Suns and Pelicans could not have made things much more competitive than they did last night as the two teams battled for the fourth and final time this season – and nearly ended in the two team’s third overtime game together in their regular season series.

As far as four-game regular season series’ go, this one couldn’t have been much closer. A little insight into the four-game match-up:

  • New Orleans won the four-game series 3-1, their first series win since the 2010-11 series when they were still known as the Hornets
  • This is the first time that a regular season series between the two teams has had two overtimes
  • It is the first time since 2014-15 that the Suns have had two overtime games against the same team in the same season
  • In their four games the two teams had 53 lead changes
  • In their four games the two teams tied 58 times
  • The largest lead by either team was 15 points by the Suns which came on a Tyson Chandler free-throw with 3:21 remaining in the third in a 120-119OT loss on December 11.
  • The Suns won 7 quarters by an average of 3.4pts.
  • The Pelicans won 9 quarters by an average of 3.4pts
  • Each team won an overtime 10-9
  • In three of the four games, the Suns shot exactly 40-93, and 43% from the field.
  • In all four games, the score was within three points with 9 seconds remaining in regulation

IN last night’s matchup, with 23 seconds remaining Eric Bledsoe had an opportunity to take a one-point lead when Anthony Davis blocked his step-back shot and Langston Galloway grabbed the rebound under the basket. With the clock ticking down, in the scramble to both retain possession and avoid a foul, neither team appeared to pay attention to the clock. After about six seconds of scramble, Galloway passed under the basket to Tyrique Evans who Tyson Chandler finally fouled, and no one appeared to have realized that the Pelicans were only about two seconds away from an 8-second backcourt violation. Eddie Johnson even pointed out on the television broadcast that had Chandler not fouled Evans, there was a good chance that the Pelicans would have turned it over.

Either the clock would have given possession back to the Suns, or an errant, desperate pass to get the ball up court may have. In the end, however, Chandler committed the foul, and with 18.4 seconds remaining Evans had an opportunity to put the Pelicans up three.

Evans missed the first of two free throws giving the Pelicans a two-point lead while providing the Suns a chance to win or tie.

Coming out of a timeout, it was Bledsoe’s game to control. Driving the ball off a pick at the top of the key, Bledsoe threw up an off balance layup that caromed off into a mad scramble for possession. Tipping it around and finally recovering was P.J. Tucker who threw it back up only to miss and fight with Anthony Davis for possession once again. Putting it up a second time the ball rolled off the rim again and with 2.9 seconds remaining, both Davis and Tucker now hunched over from body contact, Jrue Holiday obtained control and the clock ran out completing a third Pelicans victory over the Suns this season.

Following a scheduled day of rest against the Houston Rockets, Eric Bledsoe came out like a man on a mission. Still playing the best ball of his career, Bledsoe shot 11-22 from the field for 37 points, his fifth 35+ plus game of the season, and fourth in the last month. In the fourth quarter Bledsoe scored 14 points including 2-3 from beyond the arc also recording 2 steals.

In the final possession of the game, P.J. Tucker grabbed two rebounds on his own and Eric Bledsoe’s preceding missed layups. Those two rebounds helped Tucker to set a career-high in boards with 16, his previous high being 15 set against Minnesota on February 25, 2014. He finished with 11 points as well recording his third double-double of the season.

Brandon Knight had a decent game, hopefully helping his trade stock slightly, with 11 points and 2 assists on 4-8 shooting – although he was scoreless in the fourth quarter in 4:51 seconds, missing his only field goal attempt.

More from Valley of the Suns

Devin Booker scored 21 points on 9-19 shooting and added in 5 assists. In the fourth quarter he mainly deferred to Eric Bledsoe, shooting 2-2 from the field.

For the Pelicans, Anthony Davis led his team with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. He ended up on the ground doubled over in pain following the mad scramble for possession in the final few seconds and looked a little worse for wear. Jrue Holiday scored 18 points and led all players with 8 assists. E’Twaun Moore and Tyreke Evans each scored 15 points on 6-11 shooting.

Only one more game, a home match-up against the tanking Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, until the All-Star Break and trade deadline.