Hield, Ayton in NBA preseason action

Both Bahamians play 22 minutes; help their teams record comfortable wins

In limited minutes for both Chavano “Buddy” Hield and DeAndre Ayton on Wednesday night, they made significant contributions helping their teams to wins as the National Basketball Association (NBA) preseason continued.

Hield once again came off the bench for the Sacramento Kings, basically showing the Kings’ intention to use him as a role player this season. Hield played 22 minutes and shot 4-for-16 from the field and 3-for-13 from deep. He had 11 points off the bench and added five rebounds and three assists to help the Kings put away the Los Angeles Clippers, 113-98, in a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Hield, the 28-year-old 6’4” shooting guard from Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama, entered the game at the 6:54 mark of the first quarter and scored about 30 seconds later on a tip shot. He missed his first three-point attempt and struggled for the remainder of the quarter as he couldn’t find his stroke. Hield didn’t score again for the remainder of the half.

The Kings led 28-22 at the end of the first quarter, but the Clippers came back to tie the game at 51 at the half.

Hield buried two three point shots in a 38-second span in the third quarter to help the Kings stretch the lead to double digits, 74-64, and the lead never got to within 10 points the rest of the way. The Kings ended the third quarter on a killer 25-5 scoring run to take an 89-68 lead after three quarters, and they led by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter before settling for the 15-point win.

In two games this preseason, Hield is averaging 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He is shooting just 29 percent from the floor and 26.9 percent from three-point land.

Ayton had an efficient night for the Suns, powering in 14 points and adding 11 rebounds in 22 minutes of play. He shot 6-for-12 from the floor and missed his only three-point attempt, helping the Phoenix Suns easily take down the Los Angeles Lakers, 117-105, at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ayton, the 23-year-old 6’11” starting center of the Suns, is averaging 11 points and seven rebounds in two games in the preseason so far. He played just 12 minutes in their first preseason game on Monday, and suited up for 22 minutes on Wednesday.

Ayton scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half on 5-for-10 shooting and took just two shots in a little under seven minutes in the second half as the Suns were in firm control. They led 27-21 after the first quarter and were up 62-45 at the half.

Ayton was substituted out of the game at the 5:05 mark of the third quarter and never re-entered. The Kings were up 81-60 at that point and ended the third quarter ahead 102-74. The Lakers had a furious rally in the fourth, outscoring the Suns, 31-15, in that stanza but couldn’t get to within single digits.

The other Bahamian in the NBA, Kai Jones of the Charlotte Hornets, was in action last night, but the result of their game against the Memphis Grizzlies was unavailable up to press time. He had four points and four rebounds in eight minutes in a 113-97 win for the Hornets over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

Preseason action continues for Bahamians next week with Ayton and the Suns playing the Lakers again, this time in L.A. at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Jones and the Hornets visiting the Miami Heat in Miami, Florida, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, and Hield and the Kings travelling to Portland, Oregon, to take on the Portland Trail Blazers, at 10 p.m. on Monday.

The Suns and Lakers game will be televised on ESPN while the other games will be broadcasted on NBA League Pass.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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