PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Deandre Ayton steps up on offense in 1st half of Game 5 vs. Clippers

Apr 25, 2023, 8:24 PM | Updated: Apr 26, 2023, 12:09 am

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton dominated offensively in the first half of Tuesday night’s 136-130 Game 5 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at Footprint Center.

The 7-foot center led all scorers with 18 points in the opening 24 minutes. He finished with 21.

Ayton also added 11 rebounds and three assists in nearly 36 minutes played, but ended the night with a plus-minus of minus-1.

The big man also flexed some muscle with this and-1 finish while getting fouled by Clippers center Ivica Zubac.

The performance comes after the 24-year-old compared his motor to a Tesla battery on Monday.

“I don’t know what that is,” he told reporters. “Motor? Come on. I play both ends of the floor.

“My name is ‘DominAyton.’ I anchor the Phoenix Suns on both ends of the floor. Motor? Really? Nope. I run on Tesla battery.”

Ayton also wished Suns broadcaster Al McCoy an early happy birthday after eliminating the Clippers in five games.

The victory marks the first time the Suns have closed out a series at home in over 15 years.

Phoenix will now move on to the Western Conference semifinals to face the No. 1-seeded Denver Nuggets and two-time defending MVP Nikola Jokic in what is a 2021 second-round rematch.

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