Pelicans’ rally falls short against Suns; will have to win Game 6 in New Orleans to stay alive

New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) drives as Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton...
New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) drives as Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton defends during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)(Matt York | AP)
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 11:45 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2022 at 1:09 PM CDT
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PHOENIX, Az. (WVUE) - The Pelicans now need to win Game 6 in New Orleans on Thursday to stay alive in the postseason and force a Game 7 in Phoenix after falling 112-97 on the road.

The Pelicans started Game 5 against the Suns out weaker than they did in their previous win and they found themselves down on the road at the end of the first half 59-46.

In the first half, the Pelicans looked timid on the attack and concerned with picking up foul calls on the defensive end.

As has been their trend all season long, they turned in a strong 3rd quarter, getting to the foul line more often and making 10 consecutive shots at the line in the 3rd. Larry Nance Jr. also landed in a high arching mid-range shot to cut the Suns’ lead to single digits at one point near the end of the 3rd quarter.

Jonas Valanciunas helped cut the Suns’ lead down to 10 in the 4th at 8:47 with points in the post plus a free throw at 92-82.

C.J. M McCollum hit a baseline jumper around the 6:41 mark in the 4th to cut it within 8 but Mikel Bridges responded with a 3 of his own.

Jose Alvarado’s 3-pointer with just more than 5 minutes left to go cut things down to 99-92 and he got Chris Paul on another 8-count violation at the 4:39 mark. Alvarado also got a steal that started a fast break that ended with Brandon Ingram at the line, hitting 1 and cutting the Suns’ lead to 100-93.

However, missed free throws down the stretch prevented the comeback and it wasn’t enough to overcome the Suns who were just more efficient down the stretch.

Tip-off in the Smoothie King Center is set for 6:30 p.m.

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