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Possible adjustments to watch for in Pelicans-Suns rematch

Both head coaches hinted at what to expect in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s game

Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Pelicans will be without Brandon Ingram (left great toe contusion) and Herb Jones (left ankle sprain) again when they face the Suns for the second time in three days.

New Orleans topped Phoenix in a spirited battle, 128-117, on Friday night which saw Zion Williamson go off a season-high 35 points. Expect for Monty Williams to make adjustments in an attempt to slow down the MVP candidate.

“We gave him way too much momentum, but he is a freaky talent,” Williams said Friday. “He can get to a spot and jump over or jump around a defender. I thought DA (Deandre Ayton) probably did the best job of trying to stay in front of him and make him do something different. Jock (Landale) wasn’t bad, but we got to put more size on him and try to nullify some of those launchpad opportunities that he had.”

Although no single player can guard Williamson for a full 48 minutes, one has to believe that Jae Crowder would have been very useful against the Pelicans. He not only has the strength but also the foot speed to stay with Zion.

So, will Williams opt to start Jock Landale instead of Torey Craig? Or give Craig another chance but look to double Williamson earlier and more often?

As for the Pelicans, Willie Green wants the team to contest better from the 3-point line. The Suns made 22 of 44 triples overall, with nine makes coming in the fourth quarter where Phoenix briefly grabbed the lead.

“We have to do a better job of contesting their 3s. We were in rotations a bit, trying to take the ball out of Booker’s hands, and those guys do a great job of hitting Deandre when he’s diving and making the right plays. That’s something we can clean up going into the next game.”

One thing that is guaranteed to not change is the level of intensity. The disdain these two teams have for each other is apparent, so any rivalry talk is apt.

Let’s Geaux Pels!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (17-8) vs Phoenix Suns (16-10)

When: December 11, 2022, 2:30 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.