3 Phoenix Suns Observations from Game 2 Loss vs New Orleans Pelicans

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Observation #3: Mikal Bridges is More than just a Defender

Mikal Bridges could have very well been the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year had it not been for Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart’s resurgence as an elite defender (and most voters’ horrible East Coast bias).

But Bridges does more than just play defense. He resembles a fantastic 3-point shooter, hitting at a 36.9 percent clip on nearly four attempts per game! He rarely misses layups as well, shooting 77.5 percent on such shots.

But his ball-cutting represents arguably his greatest offensive asset through. There is a fine art to perfectly timing a cut to the basket. If the cut is made too soon, the passing lane would not be open yet. If the cut is made too late, then the defense would have already rotated to the ball and likely deflected the pass.

Bridges has this art down to a perfect science.

The Pelicans are starting to overplay the wings in an attempt to force Chris Paul into scoring 30 points to keep the Suns competitive. Pelicans rookies Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III tend to get a bit overzealous when trying to jump passing lanes, making Bridges’s off-ball cutting a crucial factor in this series moving forward.

These little components to the overall game plan behind winning the game are crucial. The Pelicans are a bad matchup for the Suns. Their length and athleticism give them some real problems on offense, and Phoenix’s defense has yet to find an answer for Ingram.

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In Game 3, look for Phoenix to play with a much greater sense of urgency whether Booker plays or not. I still believe this is the Suns best shot at an NBA Championship in the team’s history, but they need to consider these observations.