PHOENIX SUNS

Deandre Ayton forces Clippers to ditch small-ball with Game 1 performance

Jun 20, 2021, 2:23 PM | Updated: 8:31 pm
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket against Reggie Jackson #1 of the Los Ang...
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket against Reggie Jackson #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers in the second quarter during game one of the Western Conference Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on June 20, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Suns center Deandre Ayton was the biggest man on the floor to start Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and was playing as such throughout the game.

The Los Angeles Clippers started forwards Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. against the Suns but Ayton forced LA to change the game strategy mid-way through Game 1.

“We don’t have an answer to that,” Head coach Monty Williams said on the Clippers small-ball lineup. “We do our best to put DA in a position where he isn’t rotating. I thought Jae was a huge facilitator of that tonight, making sure DA was in the right spots.”

Ayton was attacking the basket early on and was looking comfortable in the paint against the Clippers forwards.

Los Angeles switched their defensive game plan in the first half as the Suns center was getting all the open looks and sank all of his shots.

The Clippers brought in centers DeMarcus Cousins and Ivica Zubac to try and slow down the Suns’ big man.

However LA couldn’t seem to find an answer on how to stop Ayton.

The Suns were up at halftime 57-54 and Ayton led the charge for Phoenix with 14 points and four rebounds.

Ayton was also seven of eight from the field in 16 minutes of work in the first half.

Phoenix would end up on top as they defeated the Clippers 120-114 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Game 1.

As a team, the Suns shot 55.1% from the field and outrebounded the Clippers 43-39.

Ayton finished the game with 20 points, nine rebounds and added two assists on 10 of 14 shooting.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) shields the ball from Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell duri...
Kellan Olson

Suns nearly pull off last-minute rally before falling to Kings at buzzer

The Phoenix Suns continue to struggle to find their form from last season that won them the Western Conference.
14 hours ago
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes shoots over Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during ...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton records first double-double in loss to Kings

Center Deandre Ayton had a strong performance, but the Phoenix Suns lost to the visiting Sacramento Kings.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges goes to the basket against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holme...
Kellan Olson

Kings’ offensive firepower presents good test for Suns’ recent defensive issues

The Phoenix Suns' defense hasn't been up to par three games into the season and they are hosting a Kings team with lots of offensive skill.
3 days ago
Ishmail Wainright #12 of the Toronto Raptors brings the ball up the court against the New York Knic...
Sam Graveline

Ish Wainright relishing new opportunity with Phoenix Suns

After playing overseas for a handful of seasons, new Suns forward Ish Wainright feels blessed to have a spot on an NBA team.
3 days ago
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of the NBA game against ...
Kellan Olson

Suns can tighten up during lengthy homestand after challenging open to season

The Phoenix Suns get an extended break at home after starting the season with three games in four days and a road back-to-back.
4 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, right, is defended by Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covingto...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get pounced on by Blazers in blowout loss

The Suns looked like they were back on the right track after beating the Lakers but they lost that against the Blazers the next night.
6 days ago
Deandre Ayton forces Clippers to ditch small-ball with Game 1 performance