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Deandre Ayton’s double-double fuels Suns to Game 1 win of Western Conference semifinals

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2021 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA Western Conference semifinals series between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets features a trio of former Arizona Wildcats big men, and all three saw the court in Game 1.

It was Deandre Ayton and the Suns who emerged victorious Monday night with a 122-105 win over Aaron Gordon, Zeke Nnaji and the Nuggets.

Ayton finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the postseason.

He had Phoenix Suns Arena rocking early with a poster dunk on Denver’s Michael Porter Jr.

Ayton first had to get by Gordon, who wanted nothing to do with the fellow Wildcat.

Gordon, though, put up a mightily efficient performance in his own right, recording 18 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Gordon was the only Denver player with a positive plus-minus rating (+2).

Nnaji recorded some late minutes for Denver as well, even hitting a 3-pointer.

The Suns and Nuggets will meet in Phoenix for Game 2 on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PT on TNT.

One person certainly enjoying this series is Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd, who can point recruits to not one, not two, but three former Pac-12 Freshman of the Year winners playing on the biggest stage in basketball.

It’s a good bet that Sean Miller is also somewhere watching this series with pride.