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The New Orleans Pelicans are out of the playoffs and it was a familiar face who sent them away.
Behind Chris Paul's record-setting, perfect 14-for-14 night from the field, the Phoenix Suns eliminated the Pelicans in six games on Thursday with a 115-109 Game 6 win. The Suns will face the winner of the Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz, in which the Mavericks currently lead 3-2.
Paul finished with a line of 33 points, eight assists and five rebounds. It was the most made shots without a miss in a playoff game in NBA history. The Suns outscored the Pelicans by 17 points when he was on the floor. The veteran point guard was getting to his spots all night, including this dagger in the final minutes.
— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2022
That performance more than covered a quiet night from Devin Booker in his first game back from a hamstring strain sustained in Game 2. The All-Star finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting with five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes.
The Pelicans looked positioned to force a Game 7 when they took a double-digit lead in the second quarter, but the Suns quickly made it a game again in the third. No team took a lead bigger than three points again until the final seconds, when the Suns put them away.
Pelicans definitely have a future ... depending on how Zion Williamson works out
The loss ends a season defined by promising talent for New Orleans.
The team started the year with some established talent like Brandon Ingram, but the question on everyone's mind was if Zion Williamson could get healthy. The answer was a resounding "no," as Williamson missed the entire season with a foot fracture. Three years into his NBA career, he has played 85 games total.
That was the bad news. The good news was the Pelicans found and acquired plenty of talent that could one day complement Williamson, assuming he stays in New Orleans. Second-round pick Herb Jones already looks like a special defender in the NBA. First-round pick Trey Murphy and undrafted rookie Jose Alvarado also look like finds.
The Pelicans swung a midseason trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for C.J. McCollum and Larry Nance Jr., and both were seeing major minutes in the playoffs. The team came up well short this season, needing two play-in wins to even reach the first round, but there's a lot to like about the Pelicans assuming they get the special talent they expected when drafting Williamson.