3 Observations from Phoenix Suns Game 3 vs New Orleans Pelicans

Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Suns Observation #1: Deandre Ayton needs to be even more assertive

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton had a monster game, scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. As soon as Jaxson Hayes was ejected in the second quarter, the Pelicans were helpless to stop him. Hayes has the size and athleticism to at least make things uncomfortable for Ayton near the basket. With Hayes gone, the Pelicans lost their best defensive interior presence.

The Suns saw blood in the water and gave it to Ayton early and often in the second half. He responded strongly by dominating the Pelicans in the third quarter. He really is playing like his next contract depends on it.

Please do not tell Ayton that he has already earned his max contract for this offseason. It is just a matter of who decides to pays him. At this point, this is about Ayton helping bring home the first championship for the Phoenix Suns. Ayton needs to be dominant for the Suns to win it all.

When Ayton got the ball in the post, it was Cajun-flavored BBQ chicken against Jonas Valaciunas and the rest of the Pelicans front line.

But Ayton could have done even better! He could have had at least 40 points in this game. He was not as assertive later in the game. He was fresh and the Pelicans went to a very small front line with Larry Nance Jr. at center. He stayed on the perimeter instead of demanding the ball on the block in crunchtime.

Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. had no business guarding Ayton in the post. Thankfully, the mismatch did not need to be exploited because the Suns have the Point God himself, Chris Paul.

Yes, Chris Paul’s brilliance is that divine.