PHOENIX — Entering a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday, Paul and others stated the Suns’ need to continue to stay aggressive, especially with Suns guard Devin Booker still out with a right hamstring strain. They answered in a big way.
Led by a rejuvenated performance from Paul with 22 points,10 assists and five rebounds, and a playoff career-high from Mikal Bridges (31 points on 12-17 shooting) the Suns took a crucial 3-2 series lead against the Pelicans with a 112-97 home victory at Footprint Center on Tuesday night. The Suns led the entire game and improved to 50-0 on the season when leading after three quarters.
Noted for his fourth-quarter scoring, Paul hunted for his shot in the first half, scoring 16 points along with six points and three assists. It allowed Phoenix to open its offense in other areas, as center Deandre Ayton also had 13 first-half points.
After struggling in the third quarter in previous games this series, the Suns narrowed the Pelicans’ advantage in the period to 32-30. Mikal Bridges had 11 of his game-high 31 points in the quarter and 24 in the second half alone.
The Suns then closed their victory in the fourth with a 12-4 run after New Orleans cut a 17-point deficit to seven.
With the win, the Suns will look to close the first-round series on Thursday in New Orleans. Tipoff is scheduled for at 4:30 p.m. MT with Suns Live pregame show airing at 4 p.m. on Bally Sports Arizona.
Mikal Bridges: 31 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks 4/4 3PM
Chris Paul: 22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Deandre Ayton: 19 points, 9 rebounds