Here are a few things to watch during the series along with our prediction on who will win so you can continue betting against the NBA Playoffs Odds.
New Orleans v Phoenix: Who Will Win the Series After Game 1
Chris Paul, who has never been able to win an NBA championship, came to play in Game 1 of the Phoenix Suns-New Orleans Pelicans series. He became the oldest player in playoff history to score 30 points and have 10 assists, as he and Devin Booker, who scored 25 points, led the Suns to a 110-99 victory.
The Suns saw the Pelicans make a furious comeback in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, but Paul dashed any hopes that New Orleans had with a 17-point 4th quarter to lead the Suns to the win. Phoenix scored 31 points in the 4th, and Paul scored or assisted on 23 of them.
Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Jonas Valanciunas make up a formidable trio for the Pelicans. There are still rumors floating around that Zion Williamson could make an appearance in this series for the Pelicans, but we don’t think he’ll play, and even if he does, it won’t be enough for New Orleans to beat the Suns.
Phoenix finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA, and with one of the league’s best defenses, they’re built for a long playoff run. Paul and Booker have been playing at a high level, Mikal Bridges is becoming a good scorer as well as an elite defender, and DeAndre Ayton keeps getting better. Combine them with the toughness of Jae Crowder, and the Phoenix starting five can match up with anyone.
Can Phoenix Clean the Glass?
Defensive rebounding isn’t one of the strengths of the Suns, while the Pelicans are one of the better offensive rebounding teams. In their four regular-season matchups, New Orleans hurt Phoenix on the offensive glass. They had 87 combined second-chance points in their four games against the Suns. In a close game, this could lead to trouble for the Pelicans.
Will Brandon Ingram Take the Next Step?
Many have predicted big things from Brandon Ingram, but as of now, he has yet to take the next step. He scored 18 points in Game 1, but if New Orleans wants to win this series, they’re going to need more from him. If Ingram can score between 20-30 per game, New Orleans can hang around. If McCollum and Valanciunas are the only ones getting things done on the offensive end, the Pelicans are in trouble.
Who Will Win?
To put it bluntly, the Pelicans are in big trouble. They’re just not ready for the big time yet. David Griffith has done a good job of constructing a competitive roster, but until Zion comes back, or they trade him for more assets, this team still isn’t ready for the big time.
Even if New Orleans was ready, we still think that Phoenix is the better team. They defend well, can score inside or outside, and they play well together. This team should be in the Western Conference finals. We don’t see New Orleans even winning a game in this series. Phoenix sweeps them 4-0 and moves on to the next round.