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NEW ORLEANS – The much-anticipated return of Phoenix Suns’ guard Devin Booker happened Thursday night at the Smoothie King Center.
Booker started after missing the last three games of the Western Conference opening round series of the NBA Playoffs with a strained right hamstring.
But it has not mattered so far. Booker scored just two points with three rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes as his team trailed 58-48 at the half. Booker was 1 of 4 from the field and 0 of 3 from three-point range with one turnover.
Phoenix leads the series 3-2. Should New Orleans win Thursday night, Game 7 will be Saturday in Phoenix.
Booker’s only basket was a jumper from 16 feet to put the Suns up, 11-4, with 9:03 to play in the first quarter. The Pelicans came back from that and took an 18-17 lead with 4:36 to go in the first quarter. The opening period ended tied at 28-28.
New Orleans outscored Phoenix 9-0 from the 4:18 mark of the second quarter to 3:16 remained to take its biggest lead of the game at 50-40 and stretched that to 54-42.
Deandre Ayton led Phoenix with 12 points at the half, and Chris Paul had 10. C.J. McCollum led New Orleans with 13 points, and Brandon Ingram had 12.