Ayton exits game with ankle injury

DeAndre Ayton got off to a great start on Sunday afternoon offensively as he had six points in eight minutes on the floor but had to exit in the first quarter with an ankle sprain. The Phoenix Suns (33-9) routed the Detroit Pistons (10-32), 135-108, at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

Ayton picked up the injury while defending Pistons guard Cade Cunningham with 4:31 left in the first quarter. Ayton checked out the game for good with 4:23 left in the quarter with the Suns up 25-18.

Before he checked out the game, Ayton was perfect from the field, going 3-for-3. His last bucket came at the 5:37 mark when he made a nine-foot shot to put his team up 20-13 – their largest lead of the game at that time. He did not record a single rebound but had two assists and one steal.

Up to press time, there were no reports as to how much time he would miss because of the ankle sprain.

The Suns had to find a way to play without the big man in the lineup. They went into the second quarter with a slim 39-35 lead.

The Suns outscored the Pistons 25-19 in the second quarter to take a 64-54 lead at the half. It is a lead that they did not give up as they dominated in the second half, outscoring the Pistons 71-54.

Leading the way for the Suns was Devin Booker who scored a game-high 30 points. Cory Joseph led the Pistons with 21 points.

With the win, the Suns is 3-0 on their five-game road trip as they look to keep the best record in the league – a 33-9 win/loss record.

The Suns shot 58 percent from the field while the Pistons shot 46.3 percent.

This was Ayton’s fourth game back from the league’s health and safety protocols. He averaged 18.3 points since coming back and, before this game, played at least 30 minutes in each of the three games.

Ayton’s best game since returning came on Friday night against the Indiana Pacers when they won 112-94. In that game, he finished with a double-double, scoring 27 points and adding 12 rebounds. He also had two steals and one block. The center shot 12-for-18 from the field, 66.7 percent. He scored his second three-point shot of the season in that game.

On the season, Ayton is averaging 17.1 points to go with 11 boards per game. He is shooting 63.3 percent on the season and he averages 30.7 minutes per game.

Ayton’s next chance at getting back on the court is tonight when they play the San Antonio Spurs (16-27) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. That game gets underway at 7:30.

The Suns’ road trip ends on Thursday with a nationally televised game against the Dallas Mavericks.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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