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Pelicans rally past Suns 125-114 after Booker’s injury

PHOENIX (AP) – Brandon Ingram’s rolling, Devin Booker’s hurting and the New Orleans Pelicans made it clear that this first-round playoff series will be a fight for the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.

Ingram had a fantastic all-around game with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Pelicans over the Suns 125-114 in Game 2 early yesterday, pulling off the impressive road win to tie the series at one-all and earn their first postseason victory since 2018.

Game Three is tomorrow (Saturday, 9.30am Brunei time) in New Orleans.

Not only did the Suns lose the game, but they’re unsure about the health status of Booker, who was spectacular in the first half with 31 points before leaving in the third quarter. The Suns – who led the NBA with a franchise-record 64 wins during the regular season – trailed 77-74 when he departed.

There wasn’t much of an update on Booker’s health.

Phoenix kept the game close without its leading scorer and even took a lead early in the fourth, but the Pelicans rallied, getting big threes from Jose Alvarado, CJ McCollum and Ingram to take an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram drives as Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne defends during the second half of Game Two of the NBA basketball first-round playoff series. PHOTO: AP

McCollum finished with 23 points. Ingram added tough back-to-back jumpers in the closing minutes to keep a final Suns rally at bay. Ingram finished 13 of 21 shooting from the field.

The Pelicans shot 17 of 30 (57 per cent) from three-point range. The Suns certainly missed Booker in the final quarter, but spotty transition defence throughout the evening was a bigger culprit in the loss.

The Suns rallied for a 61-56 halftime advantage thanks to Booker scoring spree. He scored all of his 31 in the first half on 12 of 18 shooting, including seven of 10 from three-point range. He hit a 30-footer just before the halftime buzzer after the Pelicans inexplicably left him open.

Booker left the game and went to the locker room late in the third quarter. He had jumped to contest a shot by New Orleans, but it wasn’t immediately clear that he was hurt.

He returned at the beginning of the fourth quarter wearing warmups and never re-entered the game. Booker missed multiple games earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.