Brandon Ingram registered 37 points to help the New Orleans Pelicans beat the top-seeded Phoenix Suns 125-114 to level their playoff series at 1-1.
The Suns (3/1 NBA Championship outright winner) edged to a 100-99 triumph in the opening game of their Western Conference first-round series on Sunday.
But the Pelicans, who finished the regular season in eighth, struck back at Footprint Center, thanks mainly to the exploits of Ingram.
The 24-year-old landed 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to overcome last season’s runners-up in Arizona. Devin Booker scored 31 points for the Suns but had to leave the court midway through the third quarter with a hamstring injury.
Suns coach Monty Williams said: “If we have to play without Book, next man up. We’ve done that all year long.”
The third game in the best-of-seven series is scheduled to take place on Friday in New Orleans.
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Elsewhere, the Miami Heat (7/1 NBA Championship outright winner) lead Atlanta Hawks 2-0 after sealing a 115-105 win as Jimmy Butler scored a career playoff-high 45 points.
It’s all square at 1-1 in the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves after the former eased to a 124-96 win.
The playoff action continues in the early hours of Thursday morning with a further three games lined up.
Boston Celtics will attempt to take a 2-0 lead in their series against Brooklyn Nets after a narrow 115-114 win on Sunday (Money Line – Celtics 8/13, Nets 13/10).
It’s Game 3 between Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, with the latter already boasting a 2-0 advantage (Money Line – Raptors 11/10, 76ers 8/11).
Meanwhile, Chicago Bulls will attempt to strike back against reigning NBA champions Milwaukee Bucks after losing Game 1 93-86 (Money Line – Bucks 1/6, Bulls 4/1).
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