- The Phoenix Suns are 1.5-point road favorites over the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 3 of their NBA Western Conference opening-round series on Friday, April 22
- Phoenix will be playing without leading scorer Devin Booker (mild hamstring sprain)
- See the Suns vs Pelicans odds and how much Booker’s injury changes the betting picture
The New Orleans Pelicans have to be wondering whether the Phoenix Suns are vulnerable. Phoenix is coming off a Game 2 setback at home to the Pelicans. Perhaps the bigger loss, though, is the absence of shooting guard Devin Booker, who left Game 2 with an hamstring injury.
The injury, which Phoenix is describing as a Grade 1 hamstring strain, is definitely ruling out Booker for Games 3 and 4. Arizona online sportsbooks, though, aren’t ruling out the Suns as the series switches to the Big Easy.
They are setting Phoenix as a 1.5-point road favorite over New Orleans for Game 3 with the best-of-seven set in a 1-1 deadlock. The Suns are 3-6 against the spread over their past nine games.
Suns vs Pelicans Odds
|Phoenix Suns||-120||-1.5 (-110)||O 216.5 (-110)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+100||+1.5 (-110)||U 216.5 (-110)|
Odds as of April 21st at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Tipoff for Friday’s game at the Smoothie King Center is set for 9:30pm ET. ESPN is carrying the broadcast.
Booker Injury Impacts Suns
Phoenix was sitting as the team to beat in the NBA Western Conference odds. That’s changed along with Booker’s status.
The Golden State Warriors are now the +145 chalk in terms of predicting how the West will be won. Defending champion Phoenix has slipped to the +260 second betting choice.
— ESPN (@espn) April 21, 2022
The Suns are saying that Booker, who led the Suns with 26.8 points per game during the regular season, is going to be back at some point in this set. However, there are other published reports insisting that he’s hurt much worse than the Phoenix claims are suggesting. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is reporting that there’s a tear in Booker’s hamstring and he’ll miss 2-3 weeks.
— ESPN (@espn) April 20, 2022
Booker was on fire in Game 2 prior to his injury. He scored 31 first-half points and even found time to fist bump a baby.
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Who’s Filling Booker’s Shoes For Suns?
When Booker was missing for 11 games due to injury earlier this season, it was backup guard Landry Shamet who stepped in to fill the void. Considering that Shamet hasn’t even been part of the regular rotation for the first two games of this series, it’s doubtful that will be the plan in this instance.
Monty Williams said Devin Booker didn’t take part in anything in practice (obviously) but he is here. Asked about the report of a 2-3 week timetable and the Suns’ familiarity with playing without guys, and here’s what he had to say: pic.twitter.com/SdDLcqKGjD
— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) April 21, 2022
Instead, look for third-year forward Cam Johnson to be the guy Phoenix turns to in this time of need. He’s played well off the bench in the first two games of this set. The Suns like using Johnson’s size to go up against Pelicans stars Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum.
In 16 regular-season starts, Johnson was good for 16.3 PPG. He shot 49.2% from the field, 42.0% from beyond the arc and 91.2% from the free-throw line.
Is Ingram’s Ankle An Issue?
Ingram’s 37 points paced the Pelicans to their Game 2 triumph. However, he was playing in noticeable pain and seen grimacing and hobbling his way around the court. Later, it was revealed that Ingram had rolled his ankle during the game.
💥 37 points for Brandon Ingram
💥 26 in second half
💥 11 rebounds, 9 assists
💥 Pelicans tie the series 1-1
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2022
While the first half belonged to Booker, Ingram took control after Booker was hurt in the third, scoring 26 second-half points. McCollum contributed 23 points to the cause.
Suns vs Pelicans Prediction
Phoenix is 5-1 straight up over the past six games played at New Orleans. the Suns are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against the Pelicans. And the total has gone over in each of the past five games in which Phoenix was playing in New Orleans.
CJ McCollum on the likelihood Devin Booker misses several games: “What I’ve told the team many times is a wounded animal is more dangerous than a healthy animal because you don’t know what to expect.”
— Christian Clark (@cclark_13) April 21, 2022
However, without Booker the Suns are a different team. Accoring to NBA.com, their offensive rating dips from 117.6 to 107.5. With him, they’re the #1 team. Minus Booker, they are dropping to fifth from the bottom.
This season, Phoenix is 8-6 SU in games without Booker in the lineup and 5-9 ATS. He average in four regular-season games against New Orleans this season was 27.0 ppg.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans +1.5 (-110)
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