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Balanced scoring guides Suns past Pelicans

/ 02:50 PM December 30, 2020
Phoenix Suns NBA

FILE —  Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns celebrates with Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul after defeating the Dallas Mavericks on December 23, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Jae Crowder scored a season-high 21 points and Cameron Johnson added 18 as the Phoenix Suns tried an alternate approach Tuesday and earned an easy 111-86 victory over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

The Suns’ talented guard duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul took more of a back seat. Booker finished with eight points, his lowest total since April 2019, while Paul had nine points and nine assists.

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Zion Williamson scored 20 points and Brandon Ingram added 13 for the Pelicans, who fell for the second time in the past three games, with both losses coming on the road.

Paul was the architect of a balanced attack that saw six Suns players score in double figures. Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne all scored 13 points for Phoenix while Dario Saric, playing in his first game after recovering from a quad injury, had 10 points.

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Steven Adams and Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 11 points each for the Pelicans, and Adams grabbed eight rebounds. New Orleans committed 16 turnovers.

The Suns shot 52.4 percent from the field through three quarters and 44 percent for the game. New Orleans shot just 12.5 percent (3 of 24) from 3-point range.

The Suns essentially put the game away by opening the second half on a 15-3 run. They outscored the Pelicans 34-17 in the third quarter run to take a 100-61 lead.

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After the Suns took a 31-29 lead in a tight first quarter, Phoenix poured it on. The Suns used a 17-4 run in the second quarter to take a 56-38 lead and extended the run to 23-6 while taking a 62-40 advantage.

Even without Booker and Paul asserting themselves on the scoring end, the Suns still managed to shoot 55.6 percent (20 of 36) in the opening two quarters and 47.4 percent (9 of 19) from 3-point range during that span.

The Pelicans shot 52.6 percent (20 of 38) from the field in the first half, but were just 1 of 11 from the 3-point arc.

Booker’s only first-half shot was a made 3-pointer in the first quarter, while Paul’s only shot before halftime was a missed 3-point attempt in the second quarter.

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TAGS: Jae Crowder, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns
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