5 Observations for Phoenix Suns from Pelicans vs Clippers Play-In Game

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Brandon Ingram.
Phoenix Suns, Brandon Ingram. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Observation #1: Brandon Ingram is a Bonafide Superstar

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram appeared unstoppable for stretches in the Clippers contest. He looked a lot like a taller version of Devin Booker and Chris Paul by dominating the game from the midrange area.

The Clippers defense had no answer for him. They first tried to guard him with their best wing defender in six-foot-five guard Terance Mann, but the lengthy Clipper found himself on the losing end of several first quarter highlights for Ingram.

When the Clippers realized no one could guard the former Blue Devil in single coverage, they tried double-teaming him with their centers, Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein. That didn’t work either. Check out Brandon Ingram’s first quarter montage, which should concern Suns fans greatly.

As the game progressed, the Clippers eventually put Nicolas Batum on Ingram. Batum’s physical defense forced Ingram to dribble away from his preferred shooting spots in the midrange. Ingram had no choice but to take it to the rack down the stretch, which was a disaster for the Clippers defense considering their nonexistent rim protectors on the court.

The trio of Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Torrey Craig will have their work cut out for them when trying to contain Ingram. Pressuring him as soon as he brings the ball up the court represents the best way to defend him. If they can force the Pelicans to set their ball screens at least 30-feet away from the basket, that would resemble a good sign that their pressure defense is working.

Guard him in single coverage and force him to finish over traffic. Basically, Phoenix’s goal should be forcing Ingram to score his 30 points on the terms of their defense, not on his own.