The New Orleans Pelicans have hung tough against the top seeded Phoenix Suns thus far in their first round playoff series. Granted, some of that is likely due to the absence of Devin Booker. Booker suffered a grade 1 hamstring strain in Game 2 of the series, opening the door for the Pelicans to steal the road game. They would go on to win Game 4 as well. But in the pivotal Game 5 Tuesday night, Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and company finally slowed down Brandon Ingram and beat New Orleans to take a 3-2 series lead.

Click here for our Risk Free $1000 Bet!

*To claim, new users need to register, make a first deposit, and then simply place their first real-money wager on FanDuel Sportsbook up to $1000! If a user loses their first wager, we’ll refund their losses in the form of a free bet up to $1000!*

Now the series shifts back to New Orleans where the Pelicans look to even the series once again. In order for them to force a Game 7, they are going to need certain players to step up their game. Let's get into it and reveal our New Orleans Pelicans three bold predictions for Game 6 vs. the Phoenix Suns.

New Orleans Pelicans: 3 Bold Predictions for Game 6 vs. Phoenix Suns

1. Jonas Valanciunas posts a 15-15 game

Maybe the biggest surprise in this series has been how dominant New Orleans have been on the glass. Despite the fact that the Pelicans finished 5th in the regular season in rebounds per game, not may people thought they would crush the Suns on the boards. But that's exactly what has happened.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas specifically has been taking Deandre Ayton's lunch on the regular. He has consistently outplayed the more talented Ayton in this series. Valanciunas is averaging just under 16 rebounds per game in the five games thus far. He has also been extremely efficient scoring the basketball. He has even shown his agility to score in the paint, which was not expected.

With the season on the line, expect the Pelicans to look to slow this game down, keep it in the 90's and low 100's. One way to make that happen, is dominate the glass. Valanciunas will do just that.

Watch NBA Games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)

2. CJ McCollum finally shows up

One of the biggest reasons the Pelicans have made it as far as they have this season has been the trade for CJ McCollum. The All-Star guard took on a leadership role upon arrival near the trading deadline and helped the team close out the season strong. However, in this series the Suns have completely bottled him up.

The biggest reason for that has been the play of Mikal Bridges. Bridges has shown why he finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He finished just behind Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart, who became one of the very few guards to ever win the award.

Bridges has done an excellent job on McCollum this series. The Pelicans star guard is shooting just 38.5 percent from the field, knocking down only 42 of 109 shots.

In Game 5, when Bridges guarded McCollum, he held him to 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting. In order for New Orleans to really stand a chance in this series, they need to get McCollum going somehow. I would think that Pelicans coach Willie Green is going to try and devise ways to get him clean looks.

That might involve getting the ball out of his hands more. Create some action off the ball or some high screen and rolls. Something has to give. I have to think that Green recognizes the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I am betting on Green making adjustments.

Therefore, McCollum will have his best game of the series.

3. Pelicans win a tight ball game, force Game 7

The sweetest two words in the english sports language are Game 7. I believe that's exactly what we are looking at in this series. The Pelicans have been overlooked all season, but this team is scrappy. Back up point guard Jose Alvarado has made a name for himself with his defense on Chris Paul. It went so far that people changed his wikipedia page to list him as Paul's father.

New Orleans only shot 40 percent from the field in the Game 5 loss. That was despite the fact that they pulled down 13 offensive rebounds. Generally, when you have that many second chance opportunities, you cash in at a higher rate. In front of their home crowd, with their season hanging in the balance, I believe they will.

Expect contributions from a wide range of players. This series will head back to Phoenix for Game 7.