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The battle of hot streaks and Big 3s: Suns at Pelicans game preview and prediction

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Riding a three-game win streak, the Phoenix Suns (22-18, 8th in Western Conference) travel to New Orleans to play the Pelicans (25-17, 5th in Western Conference) tonight for their first matchup this season. These two teams have not met since all the way back on Dec. 17, 2022, a very memorable game when Devin Booker scored 58 points and the Suns came back from 24 to win 118-114. Phoenix now looks completely different with only Booker and Josh Okogie in the rotation from this game. Both teams feature Big 3s and have each won eight of their 11 games. Overall, this should be a very intriguing matchup as the Suns are coming off a 22-point fourth quarter comeback victory over the Sacramento Kings Tuesday, while the Pelicans cashed in a franchise-record 25 threes in a 20-point win over the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday.

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Local Game Information

Start Time: 6:00 p.m. MST

Location: Smoothie King Center

TV Channel: 3TV/AZ Family

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, La Mejor 106.5 FM

Stream: Suns Live (click for more info)

Betting Odds

Line: NO -2.5

O/U: 237.5

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns: Bol Bol (right foot soreness) OUTDamion Lee (right meniscus surgery) OUT

New Orleans Pelicans: Matt Ryan (right elbow surgery) OUT | Cody Zellar (mask) AVAILABLE

Starters (Projected)

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

New Orleans Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Herb Jones, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas

Five Keys to Game for Suns

  1. Riding momentum from last game
  2. Don’t allow them to get hot free 3-point range
  3. Slowing down Zion Williamson
  4. Limiting turnovers
  5. Finding a rhythm

Prediction

Pelicans 113 – Suns 110

This game could be back and forth the entire night and could be one of the most competitive games of the entire season given where both teams stand right now. I’d expect this game to come down to the final minutes, but give the upper hand to the Pelicans just because they are at home and are a much better defensive team than the Kings. The Pelicans have the length and size to limit the Suns offensively, while the Suns do not have that outside of Kevin Durant in their starting lineup to guard Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. New Orleans has also been scorching hot from deep, shooting 43.7% from 3-point range in its last 11 games (first in the NBA), and the Suns have struggled as of late to shut down the 3-point line. That’s not to say Phoenix could not build on its last game and likely will, it’s just tough to pick them on the road against a team full of stars that has had more continuity than them.

Last Time Out

In their best win of the season so far, the Phoenix Suns (22-18) came back from down 22 with just over eight minutes to go to defeat the Sacramento Kings (23-18) 119-117 Tuesday night at home. Phoenix finally got rid of its fourth quarter woes, closing the game on a 32-8 run, after the first three quarters had the team’s home crowd booing them. For the second time in 11 days, Grayson Allen tied his career high and the Suns’ franchise record with nine triples, finishing with  29 points, six assists and five rebounds. Kevin Durant scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, as Phoenix struck gold with a small lineup of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, Allen and Durant to close the game. Booker had a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists. Jusuf Nurkić added 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Riding hot shooting and a huge performance from Brandon Ingram, the New Orleans Pelicans (25-17) blew out the Charlotte Hornets (8-30) 132-112 Wednesday night at home. The Pelicans as a team set a franchise record with 25 3-pointers (25-of-47 overall). Ingram set his career high with seven 3-pointers, while posting a 28-point, 10-assist, 10-rebound triple-double (third in his career). New Orleans did a great job sharing the ball, totaling 32 assists on 42 made baskets. CJ McCollum (22 points) and Jordan Hawkins (21 points) also finished with over 20 points in the victory. Trey Murphy added 18 points off the bench, while Zion Williamson had 13 points and nine assists.

Flashback: Last Meeting (Dec. 17, 2022)

Suns Come Back From 24 Down to Beat the Pelicans

Pelicans Averages/Totals (via NBA.com)

Team Matchup Notes

Here are some stats, notes and everything else to know about the Suns and Pelicans before their first matchup of the season (via Suns):

Each team’s stats (via Suns):

Preview: Team injury reports

Bol Bol still out, won’t travel with Suns to New Orleans

Preview: Frank Vogel talks Pelicans

Frank Vogel previews matchup vs. Pelicans

Preview: Grayson Allen the talking point of the Suns right now

Grayson Allen ties Suns franchise record in 3-pointers … again

Grayson Allen responds to trade rumors: ‘I don’t want to be traded’

Grayson Allen’s Take on the 3-Point Contest Possibility

Grayson Allen’s Rallying Call to Phoenix Suns Fans

Recap: Kevin Durant couldn’t believe win over Kings

Kevin Durant had “no clue” how Suns pulled off 22-point 4th quarter comeback over Kings

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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