The Pelicans have to win the game within the game vs. Suns

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns is defended by Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns is defended by Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Coming into Game 3, the Pelicans were down 2-1 to the reigning Western Conference champions. After a disappointing loss in Game 3, the Pelicans needed to bounce back in order to keep hope alive for this series. They did just that, and did it with attitude.

It was a back and forth game during the first half. Brandon Ingram did his usual torching of the Suns defense, and the game became extremely chippy as it went along. The tone was set by Jonas Valančiūnas who completely gave it to Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee.

Herb Jones admitted that the Pelicans made the Suns “too comfortable.” That changed in game four, as they used their natural scrappiness, but also used mind games to throw the Suns off and take them out of their game.

New Orleans Pelicans: Playoff intensity and trash talking

In the second quarter, Larry Nance Jr. forced a backcourt violation. Jose Alvarado and Chris Paul were already being handsy, and they both ran for the ball after the violation was called. Paul tried talking to Alvarado, and Jose completely ignored him, slapping his hand away at one point.

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In the 3rd quarter, Herb Jones was called for a foul and during the dead ball, Jones and Paul began chirping at each other. Brandon Ingram joined the conversation, letting Paul know that he was getting shut down. You don’t see Brandon Ingram talking trash much, so we know this is playoff intensity.

In the 4th quarter, things were even more intense. Alvarado completely took Paul out of the game. He pressured him to the point where he was called for an eight second violation, something you don’t see often from the future Hall-of-Famer.

Later on, during a dead ball, Herb Jones hit the deck after a Deandre Ayton contest. Chris Paul attempted to help Jones up, and Jones rejected his assistance until CJ McCollum came to help him up. Alvarado even pulled off his patented steal move on Chris Paul, which had to be aggravating for the veteran.

The Pelicans frustrated Chris Paul, who didn’t score a single point after the first six minutes of the quarter. This was a big win at the Smoothie King Center and the series is tied 2-2 going back to Phoenix. The Pelicans need to keep the intensity they showed in game 3 and ride the momentum to have a chance to upset the Suns on the road.

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