Ayton’s double double not enough as Suns fall

Bahamian professional basketball player DeAndre Ayton notched a double double, but it was not enough to help the Phoenix Suns (20-11) overcome the visiting Charlotte Hornets (15-16) as they fell 124-121 on Wednesday night. The National Basketball Association (NBA) game was played at the Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ayton finished the game with 16 points and 10 boards. Like he has been doing all season, the big man was efficient from the field on Wednesday night, going 5-for-8 to shoot 62.5 percent. He took eight shots from the free throw line, connecting on six shots to finish the night at a high 75 percent clip.

On the rebounding front, he was able to finish with six defensive boards and four offensive boards. He also had one assist and a block.

The Suns lost for the second time in 11 games and had their three-game winning streak snapped.

The Bahamian had a hot start in the first quarter, going 3-for-4 from the field. His first bucket came on a Frank Kaminsky missed shot that he cleaned up for a put back layup at the 7:11 mark. He put his team up 18-16 at that point. The center finished the quarter with six points as his team led 38-34 after 12 minutes.

In the second quarter, he did not attempt any field goals, but made two free throws to end the half with eight points as they led 67-66. At the 6:02 mark in the second quarter, the Suns led 57-40 before the Hornets went on a run to turn it into a close game.

In the second half, the 2018 number one NBA Draft pick went 2-for-4 from the field to finish the half with eight points.

The Hornets used a huge 31-24 advantage in the third quarter to help them get the win. The Suns did manage to tie the game at 110 on a Devin Booker slam dunk with 3:39 remaining in the game. However, a mini 7-0 run by the Hornets turned out to be enough to help get them the win. Mikal Bridges did bring the Suns within two points when he split a pair of free-throws with 6.9 seconds remaining to cut into the Hornets’ lead, 122-120.

Booker finished with a game high 33 points for the Suns. Malik Monk led the Hornets with 29 points.

The Suns shot the ball better with a 50.6 percent clip while the Hornets shot 48.9 percent. Both teams shot 27 free-throws but the Hornets made 25 of them while the Suns sank 19 free-throws. Aside from the made free-throws difference, the game was an even one.

Ayton and the Suns return to action tonight when they head to the Windy City of Chicago to play the Chicago Bulls (15-16) at the United Center. The game gets underway at 8 p.m.

The other Bahamian in the NBA, Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield and his Sacramento Kings (12-19), came into last night’s game against the New York Knicks (15-17) at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, on an eight-game losing streak. No score was available at press time.

In his last game on Tuesday night against a surging Brooklyn Nets on the road, Hield struggled from the field to score 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field. He went 3-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. He pulled in five rebounds and four assists. He was able to get one steal and a block. 

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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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