Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans 4/22/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Predictions

Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans Matchup Preview (4/22/22)

It may be a bit premature to ask this, especially considering that we are merely two games into the series; however, is it possible that we could see the fifth No. 8 seed advance over a No. 1 seed in NBA Playoff history? The last time it happened was in 2011 when the Memphis Grizzlies upset the San Antonio Spurs but unfortunately lost the next series in seven games to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had three future MVPs on their team in Russell Westbrook Kevin Durant, and James Harden. It also happened in 2007 when the Golden State Warriors unexpectedly knocked out the title-favorite Dallas Mavericks during one of Dirk Nowitzki’s prime years. It might be way too soon to start these conversations, but the loss of Devin Booker for the remainder of the first round could warrant them.

The Pelicans dominated Game Two after Devin Booker went out. Interestingly enough, despite Booker’s 31-point first half, the Pels were still within striking distance, which prompted many questions about the Suns’ defense. Are they just not playing up to par on that end of the floor, or is the Pels’ offense the real deal? Either way, Booker went out early in the third quarter, and New Orleans took over behind Brandon Ingram’s massive night. Ingram finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in what is undoubtedly his best game ever in the NBA. It could not have happened at a better time. Check out who I think will win this game and the series. Perhaps, we will see another No. 1 seed go down in the first round!

Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans Betting Odds

I have to ride with the New Orleans Pelicans against the spread in this matchup. The Suns were merely 8-6 without Booker, which accounted for one-third of their losses on the season, and New Orleans is riding a hot streak and playing some motivating basketball. It is also still possible that the Pels would have won Game Two even if Booker kept playing because they were in striking distance after he posted 31 first-half points. The point is that the Pels are not going away easily, and since they are getting points at home, it feels like a no-brainer.

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How To Watch

Date: 4/22/22
Time: 9:30 PM ET
Arena: Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, LA
Channel: ESPN

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Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Landry Shamet
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns Analysis

There is some awful news for the Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker will undoubtedly be out for the remainder of this series against the New Orleans Pelicans. Booker suffered a hamstring injury early in the third quarter and could not continue; his body language later in the game from the bench suggested that something was wrong, and it was much more than just a tweak. Matters worsen for the Suns as they are merely 8-6 without Booker this season, despite boasting an overall record of 64-18. That means that one-third of their losses came within a 14-game period, and the common denominator is that Booker was sidelined. Phoenix should be concerned, and that is an understatement; it won’t get Booker back by this series and may even miss him for a substantial portion of the following series if the Suns can sneak past the Pels in Round One. If we adopt the “glass half full” adage, then we can at least look at the significant improvement by Phoenix on the glass in Game Two. Game One was an eyebrow raise in terms of rebounding, but the Suns addressed that pretty quickly. Losing Devin Booker could be a death sentence, though.

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup

PG: C.J. McCollum
SG: Herb Jones
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Jaxson Hayes
C: Jonas Valanciunas

New Orleans Pelicans Analysis

What an incredible story the New Orleans Pelicans are this season. They started 1-12 on the season and looked hopeless without Zion Williamson. Additionally, New Orleans suffered injuries to several players, including Brandon Ingram. When Ingram was out at the beginning of the season, the Pels looked more like a G-League team than an NBA team. However, everything changed at the trade deadline when the Pels made a huge run at C.J. McCollum. McCollum and Ingram make up a solid one-two punch offensively, and everyone on this team seems bought in on the other end of the floor as well. That is a dangerous combination in the playoffs, especially as a No. 8 seed. Since acquiring McCollum, New Orleans has played a lot more like a No. 4 or No. 5 seed, ranking in the top ten in offensive and defensive ratings. With Devin Booker out for the rest of the series, the Pels have a real chance of upsetting the league’s best team. It will take Ingram and McCollum to continue playing at their highest level, though!

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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