PHOENIX — Going into a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday, Paul and others said the Suns need to continue to stay aggressive, especially with Suns guard Devin Booker still out with right hamstring strain. They responded 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-point lead. -2 against the Pelicans with a 112-97 home win at the Footprint Center on Tuesday night. The Suns led the entire game and improved to 50-0 on the season as they led after three quarters.
Noted for his scoring in the fourth quarter, Paul looked for his shot in the first half, scoring 16 points along with six points and three assists. This allowed Phoenix to open up their offense in other areas, with center Deandre Ayton also picking up 13 points in the first half.
After struggling in the third quarter in previous games in this series, the Suns cut the Pelicans’ advantage in the period to 32-30. Mikal Bridges had 11 of his game-high 31 points and 24 in the second half alone.
The Suns then closed out their victory in the fourth with a 12-4 run after New Orleans cut a 17-point deficit to seven.
With the victory, the Suns will look to close the first-round series on Thursday in New Orleans. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. MT with the Suns Live pregame show airing at 4 p.m. on Bally Sports Arizona.
Mikal Bridges: 31 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks 4/4 3 p.m.
Chris Paul: 22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Deandre Ayton: 19 points, 9 rebounds