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.
Don’t jump with Deandre Ayton pic.twitter.com/l8LiogQCbz— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 8, 2021
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).
If at first you don't succeed... pic.twitter.com/Janpz9D8RV— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 8, 2021
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.