Things went incredibly well for the defending Western Conference-champion Suns in their throttling of the Lakers on Sunday, as recapped by our Alejandro Avila.
For some odd reason, Lakers coach Frank Vogel decided to start small, despite the fact the Suns feature standout center Deandre Ayton. For the Lakers, LeBron James started in the middle to face Ayton. James is a forward and guard by nature. He stands 6-foot-8. Ayton is 6-11 with long arms. He is manned the middle for forever.
“I felt disrespected that they came out small,” Ayton said, via TalkBasket. “I can guard their lineups, I don’t know if they can guard ours.”
It sure didn’t look that way, as this was a hammer job through and through. The Suns won by a 140-111 count. Yes, those 140 points were all scored in regulation. Basically, the game was little more than 48 minutes of garbage time.
Ayton (23 points, 18 rebounds) was a major reason why.
“That’s just my thing, I’m just punishing teams like that,” he said. “Last year even when the league was trying to play this small ball. I’m traditional big man, it don’t phase me though. At the same time I’m still a big that could move a lot and guard one through five, willing to guard one through five.
“It’s just stuff like that you have to adjust to and know that the league is changing every day. That traditional big stuff when it’s small on bigs that matchup where ceiling small guys will never change.”
The Suns (54-14) continue to sport the NBA’s best record. The Lakers (29-38) very much appear headed for the play-in tournament to qualify for the playoffs.