NBA regular season

CJ McCollum, Pelicans halt Suns’ 8-game win streak

CJ McCollum, Pelicans halt Suns’ 8-game win streak

UPSET. Pelicans guard CJ McCollum catches the ball in front of Suns forward Mikal Bridges.

Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Pelicans take control in the second half as the league-leading Suns lose for just the second time in 21 games

CJ McCollum fired 32 points and Brandon Ingram added 28 as the visiting New Orleans Pelicans ended the Phoenix Suns’ eight-game winning streak with a 117-102 victory Friday night, February 25 (Saturday, February 26, Manila time).

Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 17 rebounds, Devonte’ Graham scored 11 points off the bench and the Pelicans took control by outscoring Phoenix 42-31 in the third quarter. New Orleans finished with a 53-37 rebounding advantage.

Devin Booker scored 30, Deandre Ayton had 20, Cam Johnson added 15, and Jae Crowder 12 to lead the Suns, who lost for just the second time in 21 games. It was Western Conference-leading Phoenix’s second game since losing Chris Paul to a fractured thumb.

The Suns, who had beaten the Thunder, 124-104, on Thursday night in Oklahoma City, had averaged 122.1 points over their last seven games.

The Pelicans increased their three-point halftime lead to eight early in the third quarter.

The Suns cut the lead to five points on three occasions, but couldn’t keep up with McCollum and Ingram.

Ingram had 10 points and an assist during a 17-5 run that gave New Orleans a 17-point lead before Mikal Bridges’ three-pointer trimmed the lead to 95-81 at the end of the period.

Phoenix got within 12 points four times during the first half of the fourth quarter, but McCollum hit back-to-back baskets to help the Pelicans take command with a 109-92 lead.

The Suns held a 17-14 lead before going cold. The Pelicans scored seven straight points before Booker made a three-pointer to get Phoenix within a point.

Ingram’s jumper started a 10-2 run that left New Orleans with a 31-22 lead at the end of the period.

McCollum’s jumper pushed the lead to 11 points before the Suns made a run and JaVale McGee’s dunk got them within 35-34.

The Pelicans rebuilt the lead to seven before three-pointers by Crowder and Booker helped Phoenix take a 44-41 lead.

The lead changed hands three times down the stretch and New Orleans took a 53-50 halftime lead. –