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Pelicans shock Suns in NBA playoffs while Heat, Grizzlies win

Pelicans level series against the Suns ahead of game three in New Orleans.

Ingram, right, scored 37 points for the Pelicans.
Ingram, right, scored 37 points for the Pelicans.
Image: Matt York

BRANDON INGRAM SCORED 37 points as the New Orleans Pelicans stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns 125-114 in the NBA playoffs on Tuesday night, with the Suns worrying about a hamstring injury to star Devin Booker.

Ingram added 11 rebounds and nine assists while C.J. McCollum had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the Pelicans pulled level at 1-1 in the best-of-seven first-round series, which moves to New Orleans for game three on Friday.

“We’ll just continue to have fun, be loose, lock into the game,” Ingram said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

In a game that featured 20 lead changes, the Pelicans outscored the Suns 28-16 over the last 7:30, hitting five three-pointers in a row in the run. Ingram scored 14 points in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth.

Booker scored 31 of Phoenix’s 61 first-half points as the Suns led by five at halftime, his seven first-half three-pointers a career playoff high for any full game.

But Booker tweaked his left hamstring and was removed in the third quarter. His future remains uncertain for the rest of the series pending an MRI exam.

Western Conference second seed Memphis ripped Minnesota 124-96 to level their series 1-1 and Eastern Conference top seed Miami beat Atlanta 115-105 for a 2-0 series lead.

Jimmy Butler scored a career playoff high 45 points for host Miami.

The Hawks had pulled within 104-101 in the final minutes before Butler answered with a slam dunk, a three-pointer and a layup to give coach Erik Spoelstra’s squad a 10-point lead and seal Atlanta’s fate.

“Coach told me to go out there and be a killer, score as many points as possible, so that’s what I did,” Butler said.

 At Memphis, Ja Morant led the host Grizzlies with 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds after taking the blame for an opening loss.

“My job was to come out and correct that and that’s what I did,” Morant said. “No point to be mad about game one. There’s a lot of basketball to be played.”

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The 22-year-old guard scored 11 points in the third quarter, when Memphis pulled away.

Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson each added 16 points for Memphis, which had seven double-digit scorers.

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 20 points.

 – © AFP 2022

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