Ayton answers the bell in Detroit, as Suns continue to rise

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Often overlooked offensively in today’s fast-paced NBA, on Saturday in Detroit, Deandre Ayton, and the Suns showed what a dominant big man could do.

One night after a big win in Boston, the Phoenix Suns traveled back across the country to the midwest to face the Detroit Pistons. Coming in, we knew that the lack of size would mean a lot of opportunities for the Suns’ big man, Deandre Ayton, and the Bahimian delivered in the Suns’ 100-116 win.

The Suns needed to make Detroit pay for being undersized

Not all NBA teams play with a true center, and given the injuries to Nerlins Noel, Detroit often opts to go without a big man in the middle. It was a night for Ayton to go to work without real opposition, and he certainly did.

In the first half, the Suns made a conscious effort to feed the big man the ball, and Ayton paid the team back handsomely. With 19 points and ten rebounds, it was a full game for Deandre, as the Suns took a nine-point lead into the break.

The third quarter saw much of the same as Ayton had another eight points to get to 27 for the night. Ultimately, playing only five minutes in the fourth quarter, Ayton’s scoring slowed down as he scored only four fourth-quarter points, finishing with 31 for the game.

Maybe the most remarkable part of Ayton’s 31-point 16 rebound stat line was that Deandre scored 31 points with just 15 attempts and took only six free throws. His 86.7% shooting was a season-high for Ayton, who hit the 30-point mark for the fourth time this year.

If nothing else, the monster night should remind Suns fans why Ayton is on a max contract and what a difference he can make in the right match-up. Can Ayton carry this play forward and take his game to the next level? That remains to be seen, but Ayton showed he could be the man on Saturday in Detroit when the situation calls.

Next. Phoenix needs to find road consistency on this trip. dark