Deandre Ayton’s monster night leads Suns to win over Pistons

Feb 4, 2023, 6:19 PM | Updated: 7:26 pm
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) drives on Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey (23) in the first...

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) drives on Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Phoenix Suns’ starters carried the load Saturday night for a 116-100 win over the Detroit Pistons, thanks to a game-high 31 points from center Deandre Ayton.

Ayton added to his monster night with 16 rebounds and two assists while shooting an efficient 13-of-15 from the field (86.6%).

Phoenix’s starters scored a combined 91 points behind Mikal Bridges’ 24, Cam Johnson’s 20 and Torrey Craig’s 14. Chris Paul had two points but contributed 14 assists and was a plus-24 while on the court.

Ayton’s efficiency was heavily aided by Paul all night, including a smooth pick-and-roll pass that set the big man up for an easy dunk.

Additionally, the big man was stepping out from under the hoop and showcasing his range hitting from all around the paint, knocking down a jumper from the elbow.

Johnson returned to the court on Saturday after missing the last game against the Boston Celtics for rest as he eases back into conditioning from his meniscus surgery.

He did not miss a beat, adding 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field and knocking down three of his four long-range attempts.

The Pistons bench outscored Phoenix 38-24 in the contest, led by guard Hamidou Diallo (25 points) and forward Saddiq Bey (nine) with 34 combined points.

Diallo, as well as the veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic (23 points), were a major reason that Phoenix had to battle with the Pistons to put them away.

But Phoenix’s starters were ultimately too much for Detroit, with four players scoring 14 or more points.

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