New Orleans Pelicans: How 2 rookies shut down Chris Paul

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans pulled away from the Phoenix Suns to take game four and tie the series at two apiece in front of a raucous home crowd.

The fans were treated to a dominant second half, with Brandon Ingram putting on a show in the 3rd quarter and the Pelicans closing it out behind the defensive brilliance of two rookies.

Slowing down Chris Paul is one of the obvious objectives if the Pelicans want to upset the Suns, and so far in the series New Orleans has mostly come up short, especially in the 4th quarter, when CP3 has been able to take over.

New Orleans was able to hold Chris Paul to just four points in the win, smothering him with rookie Herbert Jones, who is showing why he deserves a spot on the All-Defense team this season.

Jones was everywhere on the perimeter, going over screens all night to disrupt and contest shots, ending with three blocks, all on 3-point attempts by the Suns.

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But it was the combination of Jones and fellow rookie Jose Alvarado that was able to stop CP3 from having another big 4th quarter, and a lot of credit has to go to coach Willie Green, who made the adjustment and figured out a recipe for slowing Chris Paul down.

New Orleans Pelicans: Jose Alvarado and Herb Jones are getting to Chris Paul

Willie Green brought Jose Alvarado off the bench in the 4th quarter in an effort to stop Chris Paul from taking over again.

Alvarado immediate starting picking CP3 up full court, pestering him and eventually appearing to get in his head a little bit. Alvarado forced Paul into an eight second violation right away, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Once CP3 got across half court, Herb Jones took over, continuing to play Paul tight, fight over screens and contest everything on the perimeter.

The two combined to make the play of the game when Alvarado denied Chris Paul on at the inbounds, leading to a Herb Jones steal and a flagrant foul on CP3, who was clearly frustrated at that point.

The Pelicans made Paul work the entire length of the floor and were able to stop him from doing anything in the 4th quarter.

Alvarado was even able to pull off his signature steal move, hiding in the corner and waiting to spring on the Hall-of-Famer, who sniffed it out in game three. There wasn’t much Paul could do but shake his head at that point.

I wasn’t expecting the New Orleans Pelicans’ rookies to be able to frustrate and shut down Chris Paul, but that is exactly what happened in game four.

The Pels may have found a recipe for slowing the Suns’ offense without Devin Booker and will need a similar effort to shock the NBA world and take game five on the road.

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