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#pounditTuesday, July 16, 2024

Deandre Ayton felt Lakers treated him disrespectfully

Deandre Ayton in his Suns uniform

Deandre Ayton looked like a man possessed during Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, and we now know what gave him the extra zip.

Following his team’s blowout win over the Lakers, the Phoenix Suns center said that he felt disrespected by the Lakers’ decision to go with a small starting lineup against him.

“I felt disrespected [that] they came out small,” Ayton said, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “I can guard their lineups. I don’t know if they can guard ours. That’s just my thing, I wanna punish teams like that.”

Ayton, a bruising back-to-the-basket big, put up 23 points and 16 rebounds on a hyper-efficient 11-for-14 from the field. The Lakers had LeBron James start at the 5 and had 6-foot-7 Stanley Johnson as the primary defender on Ayton. The former No. 1 overall pick Ayton made them pay for that decision.

The Suns would go on to run the Lakers out of the gym, winning 140-111. Other than the decision to go small against Ayton, the Lakers made some comments before the game that also may have led to their demise Sunday.

Photo: Jan 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) against the New York Knicks at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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