Suns rally after scuffle, Pelicans pull away late for critical win

Apr 7, 2024, 5:35 PM | Updated: 5:39 pm

Devin Booker...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles around pressure from Larry Nance Jr. #22 and Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half at Footprint Center on April 07, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit after a scuffle with the Pelicans, but New Orleans pulled away late to avoid the season series sweep, 113-105.

The kerfuffle broke out late in the third quarter after a Devin Booker offensive foul for running into Zion Williamson. Dyson Daniels gave Booker a slight push, and Booker pushed back. The two exchanged words while Jose Alvarado got in Booker’s face until he was pulled away by Drew Eubanks.

Booker, Daniels and Alvarado were all assessed technical fouls.

The two sides have history from their playoff series in 2020-21 and Williamson’s 360 dunk at the end of a game in 2022-23. They are also in a battle to avoid the play-in tournament in the Western Conference playoff picture, and New Orleans’ win gave each team 46-32 records.

Alvarado hit a triple to start the scoring in the fourth quarter and take a 93-83 lead, but Bradley Beal came back with eight straight points.

Beal gave the Suns the lead back 96-95 on a triple after center Jusuf Nurkic picked C.J. McCollum’s pocket and spun a dime pass to Beal in transition.

Beal finished with a game-high 33 points on 13-on-19 shooting.

Talking continued after Booker scored an and-1 layup over Trey Murphy III.

The Pelicans, though, kept the pressure on with a 6-0 run after losing the lead, and Williamson was a force down the stretch.

Williamson finished with 31 points, 14 in the fourth quarter. He was questionable to play coming in with a finger contusion.

The Suns led by 13 in the first half, but the Pelicans outscored Phoenix 37-24 in the second quarter to take a 56-50 advantage into halftime. The Pelicans hit 11 triples in the opening 24 minutes, five from McCollum, who scored 24 points by the break and finished with 31.

Phoenix hosts the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

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