Phoenix Suns: Top 5 Performances in the Playoffs so Far

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Top Five Playoff Performance: Deandre Ayton vs Nuggets, Game 1

With Booker and Paul having relatively quiet games as scorers for majority of the contest, another player who stepped up in Game 1 against the Nuggets was Ayton. The third-year center had an extremely efficient 20-point game, on almost 70 percent from the field, and with a 72 true shooting percentage.

He also secured 10 rebounds, making it his fifth double-double in his seven playoff game’s during this campaign. He helped Phoenix outplay Denver on the boards, out-rebounding them collectively 44-41.

Ayton’s screening would also prove to be valuable in Paul’s fourth quarter takeover. His pick-and-roll action with CP3 looked unstoppable during the game’s final moments, with Paul hitting easily from the mid-range, and Ayton making decisive and savvy cuts through the paint when necessary.

Despite the impressive offensive game, arguably Ayton’s biggest impact though was on the defensive end where he was primarily matched up against Nikola Jokic. Ayton’s high defensive IQ, lateral quickness, and wingspan would lead the Joker into one of his most inefficient playoff games.

When Ayton specifically guarded Jokic, he only shot 5-14 from the field and only had 11 points. Jokic, who had Jusuf Nurkic in all sorts of foul trouble in the first round, could only draw one foul from the disciplined Ayton as well.