One night after helping the Phoenix Suns win a franchise record 18th straight win, Bahamian professional basketball player DeAndre Ayton was a tremendous force again but, this time, he and the Suns lost, falling 118-96 to the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California, on Friday night.
Both teams have identical 19-4 win/loss records – top in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Ayton finished with a team-high 23 points and added six rebounds in 32 minutes on the floor, but the Suns’ 18-game winning streak came to an abrupt end as they suffered their first loss since October 27. Ayton also had two blocked shots.
It was the second battle between the two top teams in the league in the span of four days with the Suns winning the battle on Tuesday, when they tied their then-franchise record of 17 consecutive victories.
The Suns secured their franchise record 18th straight victory on Thursday against the Detroit Pistons, 114-103. Ayton had 19 points and 12 boards including a punctuating alley-oop slam dunk at the end of the game.
On Friday night, against the Warriors, Ayton shot 7-for-16 from the field for 43.8 percent shooting. He went 9-for-11 from the free throw line.
Ayton scored eight points in the third quarter, but his team still trailed the Warriors 80-68 at the end of three. However, he only made one of his two shot attempts in the fourth, finishing with just two points in that quarter as the Suns sputtered.
The Suns was able to cut into the lead at the 10:26 mark of the fourth quarter, pulling to within single digits, 83-74. That was the closest they got to the Warriors the rest of the way as the lead never shrunk to below 10 points again. The Warriors outscored the Suns 38-28 in that quarter.
The Suns held the lead twice early in the first quarter with the last time coming at the 10:03 mark when they led 5-3. After a 5-5 tie with 10:18 left in the opening quarter, the Warriors took the lead for good on an Andrew Wiggins 24-foot three-point shot.
The Bahamian got on the scoreboard at the 7:02 mark of the first quarter when he sank both free throws. The Suns trailed the Warriors 12-11 at that point. The first quarter ended with the Warriors up 28-21.
The second quarter belonged to the Suns as they outscored the Warriors 27-23 to be down just 51-48 at the half. Ayton had 13 points in the first half.
It was a tough night from the field for the Suns as they finished 31-for-81 from the field, shooting 38 percent. The Warriors shot a blistering 49 percent, going 45-for-92.
The two teams face each other again on Christmas Day at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
In the 17 games that Ayton has played this season, he is averaging a double-double with 16.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 61.9 percent from the field and playing 30.6 minutes per game.
The Suns’ 18-game win streak covered the entire November and started with them being 1-3 on the season. They will look to start another streak tonight when they welcome the San Antonio Spurs (8-13) to the Footprint Center for a 9 o’clock showdown.