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Deandre Ayton After Amazing Game Against Anthony Davis: “It Was Just My Guys Having My Back, Helping Me With AD. Just Trying To Play Hard And Try To Just Match The Energy As Best As I Can."

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Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns don't have the easiest job in their first playoffs appearance in 10 years. The big man, just like Devin Booker, played his first playoffs game on Sunday against the 2020 NBA champions, Los Angeles Lakers. 

It was a terrific game for the Suns, who beat the Lakers 99-90 to take Game 1. Ayton had a big challenge facing Anthony Davis, but it wasn't much of a problem for him. He finished the game outplaying AD, helping his team to get a crucial win at home. 

After the game was over, the big man was asked about the challenge of going against Davis. He replied, saying it was a collective effort, and when he couldn't do the job, his team was right there to help him (29:45).

“It was just my guys having my back, helping me with AD. Just trying to play hard and try to just match the energy as best as I can. Just throughout the game great players and can’t tell when they’ll make great plays. Just being ready and that’s about it.”

This is the same energy he hopes to bring to Game 2. Ayton claimed that as long as the team keeps playing as a unit, they will have ample chances to keep winning and making life hard for the Lakers. 

"Just making sure we stay together," he said. "Once we keep emphasizing togetherness, playing as a unit, we'll be fine."

Ayton has the tools and the desire to leave a mark on the league. Although he's not the flashiest center out there, he knows he can do meaningful things and his long-term goals are the biggest proof of that. 

“I want to be certified as the best young two-way center who’s ever played the game,” Ayton told Shams Charania of The Athletic. “I definitely see myself as being that player, but better. Being the guy that’s known for that, and not just capable of that. Defense is so important to my play style and that’s what creates my offense and that’s what helps my team score. Defense wins games — and that’s what I want to be known for when I’m done with this thing.

“I’m a little bit of both of (Gobert and Adebayo). I’m a similar player like Gobert, being a presence down low in pick-and-rolls and handling screens and letting the pick-and-roll come to me by letting the offensive players come to me. But also switching it up, being versatile and guarding on the perimeter. Switching on guards, moving my feet on two or three dribbles.”

This is a young team with nothing to lose and a lot to win. Of course, the Lakers will make adjustments for the next game, which will make things harder for the Suns. But, if they're able to keep this rhythm, stopping the purple and gold, the team will be in a privileged position to upset LeBron James and co.