Ingram, Pelicans overwhelm Booker-less Suns to tie series

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans started its season 3-16. Now, the pesky Pelicans are proving to be a handful for the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference playoffs.

Brandon Ingram scored 16 of his 30 points in the third quarter and the Pelicans beat the Suns — playing without injured star Devin Booker — 118-103 in Game 4 on Sunday night to tie the first-round series. Game 5 will be Tuesday night in Phoenix.

“Brandon is playing some of his best basketball of the season, and he’s doing it on the biggest stage, and it’s great to see,” said New Orleans coach Willie Green, a rookie head coach who kept his young team together in the midst of its early season struggles and now has forced a best-of-three playoff match with the top-seeded Suns. “I’m just trying to move out of the way and let him do his thing about him.”

Ingram says it feels like it is the Pelicans’ time.

“We’ve worked so hard throughout the year to become a better team,” Ingram said. “My teammates put me in the right spots and are making me look good.”

Jonas Valanciunas reasserted himself in the middle with 26 points and 15 rebounds, and rookie guard Herb Jones, a defensive specialist, played smothering defense against Chris Paul.

Paul, who had 19-point fourth quarters in the Suns’ two playoff wins, was held to four points in 35 minutes. He had 11 assists, but committed three turnovers.

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