NBA: Pelicans Close Gap On Suns, Lakers Drop To 9th Place

The Pelicans pulled off an important victory on Sunday night, beating the Phoenix Suns 113-105 on the road. Both teams are 46-32 with four games remaining but the Sunโ€™s own the tiebreaker between the two teams after winning the season series 2-1. 

C.J. McCollum and Zion Williamson starred for the Pelicans with 31 and 29 points respectively. Williamson was also dominant on the defensive end with 10 rebounds and 5 block shots to go with his seven assists.ย 

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant goes to the basket ahead of New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy

Jose Alvarado came back after missing five games with a strained oblique to make five 3-pointers, finishing with 15 points. Trey Murphy chipped in with 13 points and Dyson Daniels had 10 points. 

Williamson didnโ€™t play on Friday night in a loss at San Antonio because of a finger injury. He didnโ€™t show any signs of the injury however in one of his best performances of the season thus far.

The win broke a 4 game losing streak for New Orleans and moved them to 25-14 on the road. With their next three games also away from home, they will need to keep up their stellar road record to keep pace with the Suns. The race for the 6th seed will be a tight one as both teams look to avoid playing in the play-in tournament.

The Pelicans will likely be missing Brandon Ingram who has been out since March 21 with a left knee contusion.

For Phoenix, Devin Booker scored 25 points but had an off game from three point range, going 0-6. HIs three previous games against the Pelicans had resulted in 50 or more points, including a 52-point game just last Monday night in New Orleans.

Bradley Beal led the suns in points with 33, dropping in seven 3-pointers on the way. Kevin Durant scored 23 points in a subpar game for the All-Star.

The Suns were on a three-game winning streak and have won seven out of their last ten games. They still hold the 6th seed and will be looking to keep it or even move one up to 5th if they can chase down Dallas who are a game ahead.

Next up for the Pelicans will be the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. New Orleans will be expected to take this game rather easily against the 21-57 Blazers.

The Suns will face a tougher task in taking down the Los Angeles Clippers who will be in Phoenix on Tuesday night.

Lakers Lose 117-127 to Timberwolves, Drop To 9th Place

Lebron James was missing in action for the Lakers on Sunday night, as they fell to the TImberwolves 1117-127 at home. He was out with flu-like symptoms and wasnโ€™t available for his 11th game of the season. 

What made things worse was that Anthony Davis had to make an early exit after sustaining an eye injury early in the game. The nine-time All-Star ended up not returning to the game and there was no status update given by Coach Darvin Ham in the postgame interview. 

The Timberwolves took full advantage of the absence of James, with Maz Reid scoring 31 points and Anthony Edwards adding 26. With the win Mineesota tied Denver at the top of Western Conference, winning their seventh in nine games. 

The opportunity to take the No. 1 seed in the West for only the second time in franchise history will likely be on the line when the Timberwolves meet the defending NBA champion Nuggets in Denver on Wednesday. It might be a tough one for Minnesota to win as it comes off a two game back-to-back.

Rui Hachimura played well for the Lakers in the loss, top scoring with 30 points. The Lakers had a four game winning streak heading into the game and had only their second loss in 11 outings. Los Angeles had recently jumped into 8th place in the West but had to fall right back to ninth with the loss.  

The other silver lining for the Lakers was backup big man Jaxson Hayes got some heavy minutes in the absence of Davis. He was able to total a season-high 19 points and 10 assists in his 33 minutes on the floor.