Brandon Ingram scored 16 of his 30 points in the third quarter and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Phoenix Suns — playing without injured star Devin Booker — 118-103 in Game 4 on Sunday night to tie the first-round series.
Jonas Valanciunas reasserted himself in the middle with 26 points and 15 rebounds to help the Pelicans pull even heading back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday night.
Booker strained his right straight after scoring 31 first-half points in the top-seeded Suns' Game 2 loss. Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 23 points and eight rebounds, and fellow center JaVale McGee had 14 points.
Chris Paul, who had 19-point fourth quarters in the Suns’ two playoff wins, was held to four points in 35 minutes. He had 11 assists, but committed three turnovers.
The Pelicans led 89-85 with 8:05 left and used a 12-0 run to ice it. Valanciunas, limited to six points in a Game 3 loss, scored 10 points in a 3:34 span of the fourth quarter to help the Pelicans pull away. He punctuated his scoring spree with a 3-pointer from the left wing.
New Orleans had a 35-23 advantage in the third quarter. Ingram was the catalyst, making 7 of 10 shots and assisting on two other baskets as New Orleans took an 84-74 lead. His flurry started on the Pelicans’ first three possessions of the half, with a pair of 15-footers and a layup.
The Suns used a 20-10 run, with Mikal Bridges breaking down the New Orleans defense with three layups in the final eight minutes of the first half, to take a 51-49 halftime lead.
Suns: Paul had 28 assists and zero turnovers in Games 2 and 3, but he had 11 assists and three turnovers on Sunday. In the first three games, his assist-to-turnover ratio was 38-2. ... Cam Johnson had 13 points.
Pelicans: The Pelicans committed 46 turnovers in the first three games to the Suns’ 28, leading to a point differential of 72-27. But New Orleans committed just seven turnovers in Game 4.