NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Chris Paul had 15 points and a season-high 19 assists, spearheading an 11-point, fourth-quarter comeback by the Phoenix Suns in a 132-114 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
Paul, who rose to stardom with New Orleans after being drafted fourth overall in 2005, appeared to be gesturing that he owned the arena after hitting a step-back 3 that gave Phoenix a 118-107 lead with less than five minutes to go. At that point, the Suns had outscored the Pelicans 27-5 in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans had no response down the stretch and both teams pulled all starters with 2:26 left, and the Suns went on to outscore the Pelicans 41-12 in the final quarter.
Paul’s decisive 3, his third of the game, was one of 22 the Suns hit from deep on 39 attempts (56.4%). Jae Crowder hit six 3s on his way to 20 points, and Frank Kaminsky madehit five 3s for the bulk of his 17 points. Devin Booker scored 23 points to help the Suns rebound from a tough home loss to Brooklyn to win for the 10th time in 12 games.
Brandon Ingram scored 25 points for the Pelicans, who’ve lost five of six. Zion Williamson added 23, and his second alley-oop dunk of the night helped the Pelicans build a 102-91 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Lonzo Ball hit six 3s and finished with 21 points and 12 assists to go with two blocks and three steals.
Neither team led by more than seven in a high-scoring, action-packed first half that saw both teams shoot better than 51%.
The Suns led 47-40 when Williamson’s driving layup and short floater ignited a 14-0 Pelicans run that included a difficult finish by Jaxson Hayes on a alley-oop feed from Ball as Hays’ momentum took him under the backboard.
A bank shot and 3 in succession by Booker helped the Suns respond with seven straight points to tie the game for the sixth time before Ball’s fourth 3 of the half put New Orleans back in front.
Ingram closed the second quarter with a pair of flamboyant driving dunks and a 3 to put New Orleans up 66-59 at halftime.
Suns: Deandre Ayton had 16 points and 16 rebounds. … Cameron Johnson scored 13 points. … Shot 58% overall and had 38 assists on 51 made shots. … Converted 14 Pelicans turnovers into 24 points.
Pelicans: Coach Stan Van Gundy won a challenge of foul called on Ingram during Booker’s missed layup in the first quarter. Replays clearly showed Ingram did not touch Booker, and the challenge prevented Ingram from being assessed a second foul. … Ball’s double-double was his first this season. … Eric Bledsoe scored 12 points. … New Orleans shot 11 of 32 (34.4%) from 3-point range and 42 of 82 (51.2%) overall. … Rookie Kira Lewis Jr. missed all eight of his shots and finished with four assists, a rebound and a steal in 19 minutes.
Suns: Visits Memphis on Saturday night before returning home for two games.
Pelicans: Host Boston on Sunday in the third of four straight games at home.
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