Gritty Pelicans even series vs Suns behind Ingram's 3Q explosion

By Justine Juyad

PHOTO: NBA

New Orleans Pelicans stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns anew, 118-103, in Game 4 after a strong second half led by Brandon Ingram to tie the series at two games apiece, inside Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Sunday evening (Monday morning, PH time).

The one-time All-Star continued his hot streak as he posted his third straight 30-point output along with four rebounds and five assists to help his team avoid a 3-1 hole.

"Brandon is playing some of his best basketball of the season, and he’s doing it on the biggest stage. It’s great to see," Pelicans head coach Willie Green on Ingram's spectacular playoffs performance.

The 6-foot-8 forward scored 18 in the third quarter alone to power their second-half storm where they outscored Booker-less Suns, 35-23 before finishing it off in the final canto.

Jonas Valanciunas also provided an impact especially in the paint, collecting 26 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals.

The eighth-seeded team managed to find gaps in the Suns' tight defense after a close first half as they stayed aggressive in attacking the basket and closed out the third with a 10-point lead.

Despite Ingram having a hard time getting some buckets in the fourth quarter, rookies Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado provided much-needed energy on both ends as the Pels stretched the lead to as big as 18 points to finish another upset win at home.

On the other hand, Phoenix struggled offensively as their All-Star Booker was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Deandre Ayton led his team in points and rebounds with 23 and 8.

Suns star point guard Chris Paul had an unusual night after finishing with only 4 points and 11 assists with just 25% shooting from the field which made it difficult for them to bounce back in the final quarter.

The series will head back to Footprint Center for game 5 on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, PH time).



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