Phoenix Suns 3 Keys to Victory vs Pelicans in First Round of Playoffs

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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As the Play-In Tournament dust settles, the Phoenix Suns can now see their first round opponent, hailing from the bayou in the New Orleans Pelicans.

After gutting the San Antonio Spurs during their first Play-In game and then knocking off the Los Angeles Clippers during the next, New Orleans positioned themselves to add a few more pages to their Cinderella story, grabbing the NBA’s final playoff bid.

However, their celebration feels likely to go short lived, as the Suns represent a daunting opponent even for this team which refused to back down from anyone all year.

But on the other hand, Phoenix surely wants to show the Pelicans some respect. New Orleans head coach Willie Green operated as an assistant for the Suns last year—and surely still knows Phoenix’s system quite well. CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram both carry enough offensive tricks and tools to drop a 30-piece on any night as well.

By no means do the Suns need to fear the Pelicans though. Keep in mind, this is still the NBA’s winningest team going up against a unit that would not even be here if not for the Play-In Tournament. But at the same time, success often comes with arrogance. Not too long ago, we saw a certain 73-win team blow it in the NBA Finals after underestimating its opponents.

With Monty Williams at the helm, an ending like that to the 2021-22 Suns season feels highly unlikely. But to stay focused, Phoenix will want to draw up a solid scouting report for this first test, which should include these three keys to victory.