PHOENIX SUNS

Deandre Ayton says Suns will be a ‘different team’ in Game 2 Vs. Nuggets

Apr 30, 2023, 6:35 PM | Updated: May 1, 2023, 9:05 am

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA second-round basketba...

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA second-round basketball series Saturday, April 29, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

When mighty Casey struck out, there was no joy in Mudville.

Likewise, after the Phoenix Suns lost to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Saturday night, there was no joy for Phoenix Suns fans, particularly for their version of Casey, Deandre Ayton.

But there is a game Monday in Denver and the Suns feel like Ayton and the rest of the squad will be geared up for the fastballs of the Nuggets.

“We know we have to be more physical and play with more urgency,” said head coach Monty Williams. “Our (urgency) scale is from 7-10. We don’t go 1-10, we say 7-10 and I thought we were below seven last night when it comes to playing with force and urgency even in transition.

“Our urgency wasn’t where it needed to be and that falls on my shoulders.”

And while Ayton has taken the majority of scorn from Suns fans about the lack of intensity — particularly on a single clip of him watching Nikola Jokic hit the offensive glass — Williams said the lack of urgency was not exclusive to him.

“When he (Ayton) plays with force, the table is set, if you will and so, he would probably say that he could ratchet it up three or four levels, but I think the whole team feels that way. We all have a little bit of personal disappointment because when you play against the best team in the West, why would you not bring it?” Williams said.

Ayton, for his part, agrees.

“(We are) going to be a completely different team next game,” Ayton said. “You get back home after you get your ass kicked and you figure it out.”

Figuring out pick and roll defense and re-energizing their pick and roll offense is paramount, Williams said.

“That two-man game with (Jamal Murray) and Jokic is one of the best in the league, so you have to communicate early. You have to be physical to the legal limit and at times, you have to change up the coverage so you are not giving them the same look,” Williams said.

The Suns are looking to be better Monday and Ayton hopes the Suns can meet that goal.

“Our motto is, ‘we don’t lose twice,’” Ayton said.

Catch Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in Denver on Monday at 7 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app or ArizonaSports.com

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