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.
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Observation #3: Pelicans will be a Problem on the Offensive Glass

Former Tennessee women’s basketball Head Coach Pat Summit once said, “Offense sells tickets, defense wins games, rebounding wins championships.” Coach Summit passed away in 2016, but her words still ring as true as ever.

Rebounding won last night’s Play-In game for New Orleans. Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. came off the bench to snag 16 crucial boards. The sequence that swung the game in the Pelicans’ favor all started with an offensive rebound as well.

The game’s TNT announcers considered Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado as the smallest player on the court, yet he out-hustled two Clippers to grab an offensive rebound off his own miss on this play. He then quickly passed it to McCollum, who tied it up with a triple.

Not to mention, the Pelicans went with their small lineup by this point in the game. They started the game with two legitimate seven-footers in Jaxson Hayes and Jonas Valančiūnas, who crash the glass early and often!

Hayes and Valančiūnas serve to create offense out of thin air—not just for themselves, but also for McCollum and Ingram. Deandre Ayton cannot be the only Suns player crashing the boards defensively. Phoenix will need a collection effort to control the glass and keep the Pelicans from scoring too many second-chance points.

The Pelicans rank third in second-chance points this season. The Suns need to box out every single time on defense. No exceptions.