Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, and a bunch of young and stubborn Pelicans take Game 4 with authority from Chris Paul’s hand.
The New Orleans Pelicans are the live wires of the first round of the 2022 Playoffs, maybe the liveliest. They have to be, they are playing the team with the best record in the NBA this season.
The Phoenix Suns might be without their best player Devin Booker who’s out with a hamstring injury, but this team has enough firepower to get past a 9th seed, 36-46 team. At least that’s what they would’ve thought when they stole Game 3 on the road and gained back the home advantage.
Chris Paul and Co must have thought of repeating the heroics and going 3-1 up in the series when they took the court on Sunday at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. But little did they know about the storm that was coming in their way, much like Game 2.
Game 5: Tue. 10pm/et on TNT pic.twitter.com/vW0wQSYm5Q
— NBA (@NBA) April 25, 2022
Jonas Valanciunas goes crazy in Game 4, takes the game away from CP3 and his team, NBA Twitter reacts
Jonas Valanciunas again touched the quarter-century mark, this time in points, unlike Game 1 where he did that in assists. After getting dominated by Deandre Ayton in two quiet games, the Pelicans big man had the game of his life in the Playoffs.
The Lithuanian big, having a weak defensive game, is usually obliged to have big games on offense or on the boards. He did both on Sunday and went for 26-points, 15-rebounds, and 4 assists in a 118-103 win. He sent Pelicans fans into a frenzy, much like how DA was sending Suns fans in the first 3 games.
The low-post war between Jonas Valanciunas and Deandre Ayton is insane
New Orleans Pelicans set the cross screen to free Valanciunas for the catch, and then it’s man vs. man on the block
2 of the strongest and most-skilled bigs in the NBA pic.twitter.com/9jo5tDiHwN
— Jackson Lloyd (@JacksonLloydNBA) April 25, 2022
Jonas Valanciunas OWNS Deandre Ayton #SunsVsPelicans
— TheManWhoSoldTheWorld (@TMWSTW30X) April 25, 2022
Jonas Valanciunas is up to 23 pts after that triple – his offensive productivity is neutralizing Deandre Ayton
— Ricardo LeCompte (@RLeCompteTV) April 25, 2022
Deandre Ayton vs. Jonas Valanciunas is a war every possession. What a matchup.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) April 25, 2022
Some Suns fans have a concern.
ayton just gave up 26 and 15 to jonas valanciunas but we supposed to throw him the bag this summer
— you cant save me (@watchtherome) April 25, 2022
Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum might be the two best players on the Pelicans squad right now, but how well Valanciunas, and rookies Herbert Jones and Jose Alvarado are doing is also the reason the series is tied. And it will further go the way all these 1st-year players with Pels take it.