Ayton’s last-second dunk, Payne’s performance gives Suns Game 2 win
The Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-103 on an inbound dunk by Deandre Ayton in the final second of the game to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Down by a point with less than a second remaining in the fourth quarter, Jae Crowder tossed the ball up to Ayton who shoved the ball down for the victory.
DEANDRE AYTON FOR THE WIN 😱
UNBELIEVABLE GAME WINNER!! pic.twitter.com/tcHwtzUcty
— ESPN (@espn) June 23, 2021
Crowder and Ayton executed head coach Monty Williams’ plan to perfection.
“DA – if he throws it, you gotta try to dunk it. Okay?”
— NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Here it is from couple of different another angles.
No way pic.twitter.com/ORFWlIgMiu
— Kevin Zimmerman (@KZimmermanAZ) June 23, 2021
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) June 23, 2021
The dunk came after Paul George missed two free throws to give the Suns a chance to take the lead with just a 2-pointer on the other end of the floor.
Ayton recorded a double-double in the victory with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Devin Booker scored 20 points with five assists and four rebounds.
Cam Payne stepped up and provided an offensive jolt for the Suns, in place of Chris Paul who was once again away from Phoenix Suns Arena due to health and safety protocols.
Payne led the Suns with 29 points and added nine rebounds and an assist.
It was the best performance of Payne’s professional career so far, passing a 24 point performance against the Lakers on May 9 and a 19 point performance against the same team in a Game 2 loss in the opening round of the playoffs.
The 26-year-old has been a big part of the team’s torrid streak through the NBA playoffs, coming into the game averaging 10.3 points and putting in meaningful minutes while Paul has been sidelined.
Paul missed his second straight game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday despite taking the Pfizer vaccine in February, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.
The Point God has not played since a Game 4 victory in the conference semifinals on June 13 that completed a sweep of the Denver Nuggets.
Without Paul in Game 1, the Suns beat the Clippers 120-114 as Payne contributed 11 points with nine assists and three rebounds in 29 minutes played.
The series now moves to Los Angeles on Thursday.
Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and all the action can be heard on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.