The NBA community is starting to have some faith in the New Orleans Pelicans. With Brandon Ingram leading the charge, they could pull off an incredible upset against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.
The conversation has come up several times in the past few days after the Pelicans stunned the Suns 125-114 on Tuesday. NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins has likened Ingram to Kevin Durant and favors them to win the series if Devin Booker does not return for Phoenix.
Speaking on ESPN’s “First Take,” Perkins talked about the Suns’ chances and Ingram as a player. He emphasized how much Ingram reminds him of KD because of their skill level offensively.
“When I look at the Pelicans, and I look at the spirit that they’re playing with, it’s a different type of energy,” said Perkins, who was widely criticized by Pelicans fans early in the season for dismissing New Orleans as not being a basketball city. “On top of that, when I look at their superstar in Brandon Ingram, he’s a young superstar in the making.
“This little dude reminds me of Kevin Durant all over again. The way that he’s able to get to his spots, his handle, attack the basket, his length, his athleticism, all the above. Right now, with Devin Booker being out, Brandon Ingram is the best player in this series, period.”
The Suns lost Booker after 24 minutes on Tuesday with a hamstring injury. His availability will go a long way in influencing the outcome of the series.
Meanwhile, Ingram is having an outstanding series, registering a game-high 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in Game 2.
Brandon Ingram has led the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs for the first time since 2018
New Orleans has struggled to reach the playoffs since their last appearance in 2018, even after drafting Zion Williamson. Their last postseason run ended in the Western Conference semifinals after losing 4-1 to the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Since then, the Pels have endured a dry spell. However, an inspiring run in the second half of the season has seen the Pels squaring off against the Suns in the first round this season.
Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal believes an upset is possible, stating that Ingram is the key to achieving that. The four-time NBA champ was impressed with how he took over Game 2, likening it to how Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce used to.
There is still a lot left in this series, but there is hope for the Pelicans. They will go into Game 3 with their confidence sky-high, especially after winning on the road against the team with the league’s best home record.
The next two games are on Friday and Sunday in New Orleans.