How All 4 Play-In Teams Matchup with Phoenix Suns in First Round Playoff

Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Potential First Round Opponent: New Orleans Pelicans

After losing all but one of their first 13 games this year, the New Orleans Pelicans could have thrown in the towel and tanked for a lottery pick. Nobody would have blamed them, especially with Zion Williamson unable to play. But instead, they believed in themselves and traded their first rounder for a star who led them to a Play-In berth.

Although Phoenix possesses a 3-1 regular season series advantage over the Pels, it feels unfair to make conclusions based on that due to NOLA’s mid-season roster turnover. The first two matchups of this series occurred prior to the CJ McCollum trade. Brandon Ingram only played twice, as did Chris Paul.

But regardless, what we have seen from this Pelicans team one way or another has been impressive.

Casted into the biggest role of his career so far, McCollum has been a revelation for New Orleans, including some high caliber games vs the Suns this year both as a Pelican and Trail Blazer. Having played two games for each team against Phoenix this season, the Lehigh University product averaged 24.8 points per game with a 64.0 true shooting percentage.

The duo of Ingram and McCollum represents the backbone for this group. They made this clear during their team’s only win vs the Suns this year, combining for 60 points.

Not to be forgotten, Herb Jones has been one of the best defensive rookies in league history, while Jonas Valanciunas represents a stable force down low now in his 10th year at the NBA level.

But being a 64-win team, the Suns never let any of these guys slow them down this year, at least for the most part. Phoenix’s All-Star backcourt cooked New Orleans this season, with Booker averaging 27.0 points per game and Paul averaging 16.5 assists per game vs the Pels.

Despite the no-quit attitude and some notable names on this inspiring team from the bayou, Phoenix makes for an overwhelming favorite in any postseason series.

First Round Series Prediction: Suns in 4 or 5