PHOENIX SUNS

Jay Williams to Suns’ Deandre Ayton: ‘You got your money, please shine’

May 9, 2023, 11:59 AM | Updated: 12:31 pm

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot over Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets d...

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot over Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during Game Four of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals at Footprint Center on May 07, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Nuggets 129-124. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After splitting the first four games of their playoff series, the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets are now locked into a best-of-3 situation.

It’s crunch time for a Suns team that has rallied back from down 0-2 with a pair of home wins largely on the backs of guard Devin Booker and forward Kevin Durant.

Phoenix certainly has the momentum heading into Game 5 on Tuesday night. But for the Suns to get a stranglehold on the second-round matchup and never look back, ESPN analyst and former hooper Jay Williams is pleading for a certain Phoenix big man to step up and answer the call.

“This is the game where you have to get a big contribution (from Deandre Ayton) and I feel like we’ve all been waiting for it,” Williams told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Tuesday. “I want one aggressive game (from Ayton) where the world is not on the shoulders of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. You got your money, please shine.

“I think we’re all waiting for that, because it might be enough to get through a game but you’re going to need a game like that to win this series. You’re going to need it.”

Ayton has been a non-factor for nearly all of the second round, failing to record double-digit rebounds and has yet to top the 14-point mark this series.

The lack of production and aggressive could play in large part to who he’s up against in two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.

The 6-foot-11 center has absolutely dominated with averages of 36.5 points, 14 rebounds and 9.5 assists.

His most recent showing was his best yet this playoffs behind a 53-point effort on 66.7% shooting and 50% from long range in a Game 4 loss to Phoenix.

The Suns are back in action Tuesday night against the Nuggets. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app or ArizonaSports.com.

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Jay Williams to Suns’ Deandre Ayton: ‘You got your money, please shine’