Ayton double-double helps Suns even series at 1-1

|Sports|Ayton double-double helps Suns even series at 1-1Sports

Simba FrenchSend an emailApril 20, 2023 79 2 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Phoenix Suns’ center DeAndre Ayton (22) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers’ center Ivica Zubac (40) defends during the second half of the second game of their NBA first-round playoff series, in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns won the game, 123-109, to even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece. AP

Bahamian DeAndre Ayton answered the call with a double-double on Tuesday night, helping the Phoenix Suns even their best-of-seven first round series at a game apiece with a 123-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Playing at home at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Ayton and the Suns put on a shooting clinic and got their first win of the 2023 National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs. Ayton finished the game with 14 points and 13 rebounds in 32 minutes on the floor. The big man made a huge impact in the field, finishing 7-for-10, shooting at a 70 percent clip. He grabbed three offensive boards and 10 defensive boards while battling foul trouble.

Devin Booker led the way with 38 points and Kevin Durant poured in 25 points for the Suns.

After scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds in the first quarter, the Bahamian asserted himself and was dominant as he added 10 points and pulled down five rebounds in the second quarter.

He opened the second quarter by going to work with a mid-range jump shot at the free throw line. He helped cut into the Clippers lead at 31-26. The top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft came back at the 9:11 mark in that quarter and connected on another shot from the free throw line and the Clippers led 35-28 at that point. He scored the next two points for the Suns and kept them close.

Ayton capped off a personal 8-0 scoring run with another made shot from his sweet spot to keep the Suns in the mix at the 7:58 mark of the second quarter. The Clippers led 40-32 at that point. The center capped off his scoring in that second quarter with a putback on his own missed dunk with 6:30 left in the first half. The Clippers let 45-36 at that point. Ayton was instrumental for his team during that stretch as he stopped the Clippers from running away with the game. After going down 51-39 with 5:01 left in the game, the Suns dug down deep. They came all the way back to tie the game at 59 at the half.

The Suns did not let up in the third quarter as they went up by 10 points, taking a 71-61 with 8:39 left in the third quarter. They led 92-87 at the end of the third quarter.

It was all Suns in the fourth quarter. Ayton made a layup at the 2:30 mark to give his team a 119-109 lead. They scored the game’s final four points to seal the win.

In two postseason games, Ayton is averaging 16 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.7 percent from the field in 32.5 minutes on the floor.

The Footprint Center was sold out for a 76th consecutive time for both regular season and playoff games. The series now shifts to Los Angeles, California, where both teams will look to take a 2-1 lead at the Crypto.com Arena. That pivotal third game airs at 10:30 p.m. this evening on NBA TV.


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