Ayton, Hield help teams continue win streaks

Bahamian professional basketball players Chavano “Buddy” Hield and DeAndre Ayton continue to help their respective teams as they prolonged win streaks on Tuesday night in the National Basketball Association (NBA) regular season. Ayton and the Phoenix Suns (47-18) won their fifth straight game when they got a 134-118 road win in overtime over the Cleveland Cavaliers (21-44) at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hield and the Sacramento Kings (28-37) got their third straight win – all on the road – when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-45), 103-99, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Hield finished with a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 15 of his points from behind the arc where he went 5-for-13. Overall, he shot 5-for-16 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. The Grand Bahamian also dished out four assists and came away with a steal and a block in 38 minutes of play. His 11 rebounds was just one short of his career-high for a game.

Ayton finished his game two rebounds shy of a double-double when he scored 15 points and added eight rebounds. One area that stood out was his five swats on the night as he matched a career-high in that department. He was active around the rim and picked up a steal in 36 minutes of play. He went 7-for-10 from the field and connected on his only attempt from the free throw line.

It was a good start for the big man in the first quarter as he went 2-for-2 from the field early. His team was able to take a 30-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. They shot 50 percent from the field in that quarter and held the Cavaliers to just 40 percent.

The second quarter was evenly played as the Cavaliers were putting up a fight against the best team in the league record-wise. Ayton got his first block in the game and only steal in that quarter. He finished the first half with six points on 50 percent shooting and the Suns held a slim 63-59 lead at the half.

It was a busy third quarter for the 2018 number one overall draft pick in the NBA as he scored nine points. He went 4-for-4 from the field in that period, including a slam dunk at the 2:36 mark to put his team up 86-78. The Cavaliers made a run at the end of the quarter, as the Suns led just 90-88 going into the fourth.

The Cavaliers showed some resilience in the fourth quarter as Isaac Okoro kept them in the game. Okoro made a bank shot with 24.9 seconds left in the game to tie it at 114, and the game went into overtime as the Suns failed to get off a clean look in the waning seconds.

In the overtime period, the Suns used a 15-0 scoring run to pull away from the Cavs. They ended up outscoring the Cavaliers 20-4 in the five-minute period to win the game.

Ayton did not attempt a shot in the fourth quarter or overtime.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points. Okoro scored a game-high 32 points in the loss.

During their five-game win streak, the Suns won three road games and defeated the Utah Jazz to hold the tiebreaker between the two teams for the number one seed in the Western Conference of the NBA.

Hield had a rough start in the beginning of his game as he made only one shot in the first quarter. That shot came with 4:13 left in the first period, when the Thunder left him wide open beyond the arc.

The Kings took a 25-20 lead heading into the second period.

It was a better second period for the sharpshooter as he made two timely three-pointers in the final four minutes of that period. The first three was a left corner shot that put his team up 42-37 with 3:41 remaining in that quarter. The second one was at the 1:08 mark to extend the Kings’ lead to 13 points, 54-41.

The Kings went into the intermission up 56-46. Hield had 12 points at the half.

In the second half, the Kings were able to hold on for the win.

Hield is still second in the league with 256 made three-pointers this season. He sits behind the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry who has 307 made three-pointers. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is third with 244 three-pointers.

With just seven games remaining, Hield is on pace to finish the season with a total 284 three-pointers. He is averaging 4.1 per game.

The Kings are 12th in the Western Conference – three and a half games behind the 10th place San Antonio Spurs (31-33) for a spot in the play-in tournament.

The Kings were in action last night against the Indiana Pacers (30-34) at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ayton and the Suns were also in action last night when they played the Atlanta Hawks (36-20) at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

No scores were available for both games up to press time.

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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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