The Suns lost to the Pelicans in Game 4 in the first round, the series was tied 2-2, and the Suns’ lack of scoring points after Chris Paul’s poor performance became clear, but in Game 5, they used to be considered a member of the defense. Mikal Bridges stepped up and became Game 5’s biggest hero.
Whether it’s from the process of last year’s championship game, the final result of the loss, to the beginning of the regular season this season, the Suns have always been in the top class of the league, standing on the top, a few defeats, the demand before the mid-season trade deadline, etc., Finally advancing to the playoffs, as the league’s top seed, the Suns still have an obvious problem. As a team, the Suns are indeed good enough offense in the regular season, but when faced with a high-intensity battlefield, The ball-holding points that can handle the attack independently are obviously insufficient. The two main players in the backcourt, Devin Booker and Chris Paul, are stable enough, but the Suns are the only two people who can be trusted.
In Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs, Booker fired brilliantly in the first half and was injured in the second half. The entire series was definitely absent. Game 3 and Game 4 The situation of the sun’s attacking firepower is obvious. Game 3 has Deandre Ayton scoring 28 points. , 17 rebounds to support, Game 4 is CP3 directly shut down, the sun and green leaves group failed to provide outside firepower for four consecutive games, so in Game 4 the sun swallowed, and it is even obvious that the Pelicans walked with rhythm in the second half.
Whether or not he suddenly transformed on the day of the break, the Suns saw a change in Game 5 when they returned to home. Mikal Bridges is the hero who transformed and stepped forward throughout the game. This is the starting lineup of the Suns. The main 3D player in this season, because of the regular season of the Suns, has a huge record, and the nickname Mikal Jail, which describes his defensive skills, is also more popular. C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram, formed by the Orion, attacked with two guns. They were mainly on the front line to block CJM’s choice. Although Ingram was mainly handed over to Jae Crowder, Bridges’ responsibilities would change when CJM or Crowder was not on the court. As for Ingram, Ingram will use his personal talent advantage to ignore defense and score points, so that he has won praise in this series so far, but CJM scored points in Game 2 and Game 3 in the fourth quarter, Game 4 and today’s Game 5 hits Rates are clearly affected by the Bridges defense.
In the face of the Pelicans’ double guns, the Suns mainly rely on Bridges to take care of CJM, while against Ingram, they will use the entire team to assist in defense. Except for the first-line Crowder, as long as Ingram uses the pick-and-roll, the Suns are definitely the two defenders. Interfere with Ingram first, then Ayton will jump out of the three-point line. If Ingram breaks into the mid-range, all players standing near the elbow will interfere, and they will definitely use their bodies against Ingram. Most of the time, they will make up defenses. It is Bridges. The data shows that Bridges defended CJM in 36 plays today, and only allowed him to score 10 points in total. CJM only scored 3 goals in 11 shots under Bridges defense, and when Ingram faced Bridges, he also had 34 plays. Ingram had just seven points and shot 2-of-5 from the field.
The last group to appear in the eight series, the league leader Suns told everyone why they were able to stand here. In the face of the two major disadvantages of the perimeter shutting down and the Pelicans storming the penalty area, they could still dominate the game in the final quarter. The key is top point guard Chris. Paul stepped forward and closed the door again, polishing his Point God sign.
CP3 briefly praised Bridges after the game: What he did was clear and important, he stayed on the court almost the whole game, guarding the opponent’s best player on the court at all times, and then he scored 31 points and everyone watched. arrive.
In the absence of Booker, the Suns really need someone to stand up. The outbreak of Bridges in this game is extremely important. The Suns have mastered the rhythm since the beginning of the game. The Suns shot 50% of the field, 10 of 27 three-pointers, and only 7 rebounds behind. The Pelicans' double shot rate was poor, and the team only made 40% of their shots, and only 20% of their three-pointers. 15 more free throws than the Suns and still powerless.
There is no doubt that this is the masterpiece of Bridges’ career playoffs. After the first four games were tied 2:2, the Pelicans were even on the rise because of their victory in the fourth game. At the same time, Bridges poured cold water on the Pelicans with his wonderful performance. , helping the Suns draw and making the Pelicans reflect on what to do next.
There are two other key points in this battle:
In the fourth game, after the lack of Booker, the Sun’s formation problem emerged. In the fifth game, Monty Williams tried to change the formation. In the second quarter, Ayton and JaVale McGee were paired with a twin tower formation. In the third quarter, McGee and Bismack Biyombo played at the same time. This method, which has not appeared throughout the season, is to deal with the Pelicans’ restricted area offensive, and to avoid the disconnection when CP3 is entangled by Alvarado, the Suns also used the third point guard Aaron Holiday in the second quarter. There is also a dual point guard lineup of CP3, Holiday, and Cameron Payne from time to time. If it wasn’t for Payne’s quick foul trouble in this game, there may be more ways for dual point guards to be responsible for starting the offense.
When the Suns changed their strategy, they finally got rid of the pattern of one center, three wings, and one point guard. Of course, because this is indeed not the norm that is often used throughout the season, it has not been used for a long time, nor is it substantially Helping the Suns bring an obvious lead, but just being able to respond when the Pelicans make moves, so as not to allow the Pelicans to immediately start a chasing offensive or immediately turn the game around, has already achieved its initial effect. For the Suns, as long as the game is not Will flip, let the rhythm in the hands of the sun, and finally return to the fundamentals of combat power, the sun will still have the advantage.
2.Landry Shamet does not work well
After Booker’s absence, the Suns started Johnson in the playoffs, but Landry Shamet, the only shooting guard on the team other than Booker, did intuitively expect a lot of playing time, and Williams did. With such a schedule, even in the evolution of this battle, since the dual center configuration eats up the time at the 4th position, Torrey Craig, who was originally positioned as Crowder’s substitute, sat on the entire bench.
However, Shamet’s condition in these few games is obviously not good. The main reason is that from a technical point of view, Shamet can only be a shooting guard, and his height at 6 feet 3 inches is not enough to be a No. 3. The ball, playmaking ability, and defense are even weaker. In short, he is only one shot, but when he can’t even make a shot, his contribution on the court is a negative point.
In the last three games, Shamet’s shortcomings on the court are obvious. It is true that he has to eat a little time when Booker is out, but when he obviously has no way to contribute, he is still the most played bench player, even Game 3. He played more minutes than Johnson, and he played more minutes than Crowder today. Although the Suns have indeed achieved a draw situation, the Pelicans have also continued to show competitiveness. If this is not used properly, the Suns may not really be able to close the door smoothly.
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