Ayton, Hield and Jones tuning up for the NBA season
All three Bahamians in the National Basketball Association (NBA) – Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield, DeAndre Ayton and Kai Jones – were on the court for their respective teams in preseason play on Wednesday night.
Hield’s Indiana Pacers and Jones’ Charlotte Hornets met in an early game at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Pacers got the best of the Hornets, winning 122-97.
Ayton and his Phoenix Suns took on the Los Angeles Lakers on neutral ground, playing at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Suns came away with a 119-115 victory.
The Suns center finished with seven points and a game-high eight rebounds in 25 minutes on the floor. He made three of his 12 shot attempts and missed his only three-point attempt of the night. He was also able to come away with two steals and a block.
As expected, Ayton played sparingly, sitting out the fourth quarter.
The Lakers got the ball rolling in the first quarter, taking a 35-28 lead. It was an even second quarter as both teams dropped in 34 points. The Lakers led 69-62 at the half. As expected, both teams cleared their benches in the second half.
The Suns opened the preseason with a 134-124 loss to the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday, and improved to a 2-0 win/loss record with that win over the Lakers on Wednesday.
Ayton and the Suns return to preseason action on Monday October 11, taking on the Denver Nuggets at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Hield scored seven points and added five rebounds and two assists. He finished the night shooting 3-for-8 from the field and 1-for-4 from deep in 20 minutes on the floor. He added three steals.
Jones played eight minutes and came away with one point. He missed all three of his attempts from the field including two shots from deep. He split his two free throws and added two rebounds and an assist.
The Pacers went into the second quarter with a 27-17 lead. Hield got on the scoreboard at the 8:33 mark of the second period when he connected on a shot from deep. His team went up 41-20 at that point. They went into the intermission with a 59-43 lead. In the third quarter, the Pacers outscored the Hornets 36-25, taking a 95-68 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Jones entered the game at the 8:20 mark of the fourth quarter. He took his first shot at the 7:19 mark.
The Hornets’ loss was their second of the preseason. They will play the Boston Celtics at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 7:30 p.m. tonight. It is the second time that the teams will meet this week. The Celtics won the first game 134-93.
Hield and the Pacers will play their second preseason game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York, at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
The NBA regular season tips off on Tuesday October 18.