With injuries to the Oklahoma City Thunder big men, Deandre Ayton could be in line to have a big game for the Phoenix Suns.
The Phoenix Suns just keep winning and in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, they will have to continue that trend. On Monday afternoon, they tackle the next hurdle on the schedule and square off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder are 3-2 in the bubble and have been playing quality basketball. On Sunday morning, they rolled through the Washington Wizards so when they play the Suns in another early start, it will be the second game 24 hours.
Other teams have made similar load management decisions so it would not surprise me. Then again, Chris Paul is both a fierce competitor and ageless, so it would also not surprise me to see him out there playing as if it were game-7 of the NBA Finals.
Ayton and the Phoenix Suns could take advantage of Thunder’s lack of frontcourt depth.
One star the Thunder will likely be without, however, is Steven Adams who suffered a minor leg injury and has sat out the last few games for precautionary reasons. His backup, Nerlens Noel, also missed the last two games due to ankle soreness, and they both may miss Monday’s game as well.
That could provide a huge opportunity for Deandre Ayton to have a big game because the Thunder do not have anyone to match his size and athleticism. The Thunder had to start deep reserve, Mike Muscala, in their place against the Wizards, who, while formidable, should be no match for an aggressive and hungry Deandre Ayton.
The Suns made a conscious effort to get Ayton the ball in the paint more against a depleted Heat team, and the same strategy could be in effect again on Monday.
The stars are aligning for this to be Ayton’s breakout bubble game. Ayton has played fine thus far, averaging 18.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in the seeding games, but Suns fans know he has room to improve and truly earn his nickname, DominAYTON.
The game tips off before lunch, Arizona time, so make a sandwich, grab your favorite chips and salsa, and get ready to watch the Phoenix Suns make it six in a row and stay undefeated in the Disney bubble.