PHOENIX — Missing Devin BookerAnd with the New Orleans PelicansUse heavy pressure Chris PaulThe Phoenix SunsIt was a monumental effort. Mikal BridgesThey regained control of their first-round NBA playoffs series by winning 112-97 Game 5, a 3-2 win.
Bridges' offensive and defensive game was perhaps his best. He finished with 31 points, 12-of-17 shooting, four blocks and a steal. Bridges was determined to improve 3-point shooting and the Suns needed him to make all four attempts. Then there was his on-ball defense: The Pelicans were just 1-of-14 shooting when Bridges and his long arms and relentless effort contested their shots, according to ESPN Stats & Information tracking. He played only 66 seconds.
“We put he [Bridges]Monty Williams, Suns coach, said that everyone is important. We cannot clone him but we wish that we could. He is also able to score offensively.
Bridges ended the game with two dunks. He showed no fatigue and had an incredible energy flow, which is vital for Suns players. Booker missed his third consecutive match due to a hamstring strain. The Pelicans arrived looking to challenge Paul and his left hand.
Paul missed some time in the previous season due to a left thumb Injury. In the second quarter, Paul appeared to injure another finger on the same hand during Sunday's Game 4 defeat. After the first quarter, Paul didn't score. He taped several fingers together and did it again Tuesday. The Pelicans were hard on him right side, trying to force him left. The Pelicans also tried to pressure him on the full court, a strategy that was used throughout the series.
Williams stated that Paul was 100% healthy, but that he had modified his game plan in order to relieve some of the pressure on the veteran point guard. Paul was to move the ball lower in order to save energy and avoid the double-teaming that the Pelicans employed in Game 4. Paul, who has suffered from wrist and hand injuries over the years, didn't seem to be bothered as he scored 16 out of 21 points in half-time to help the Suns establish an advantage.
Paul stated that the Pelicans' strategy was “seventeen years old.” “I've been playing since a long time. It's where most teams go, to pick you up all court and do all the different stuff.
The Pelicans may need to devise a plan for managing Bridges in Thursday's Game 6. As he had taken his second-most shots this season, he was an integral part of everything the Suns did. Also, the Suns found themselves in foul trouble Cameron PayneAnd Jae CrowderBridges is limited in scope, so we are expanding their role.
“Just play hard, that's all it takes. Bridges stated that it was all about playing hard and supporting each other.
Bridges played more against Pelicans star Brandon IngramIngram shot just 1-of-4 with Bridges protecting him, making it the lowest percentage of shooting in the series. Ingram scored 22 points, but missed 12 of 19 shots. Bridges were also smothered CJ McCollumBridges was on McCollum, who was 1-of-9. McCollum scored 21 points, but missed 15 of 22 shots. He is currently shooting 37% for the series. Bridges was the main reason.
But perhaps the most impressive way to put Bridges' performance in context was this: There have been just seven players in history to have a 30-point game with four 3-pointers and four blocks, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
They are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter &, now, Bridges
Bridges said, “Wow,” after being shown the list.