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Devin Booker issues challenge to Deandre Ayton after Suns beat Blazers

Devin Booker looks on wearing a Suns warmup shirt

Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker had a message for his former teammate Deandre Ayton on Tuesday after the Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Blazers took an early 2-0 advantage in the contest thanks to an Ayton layup in the opening minute. But the Suns took the lead a few plays later and never trailed the rest of the way in the 120-107 victory.

The Suns-Blazers matchup was the first time Ayton played his former team since they traded him to Portland during the offseason. The Arizona alum posted a solid stat line of 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Booker was asked about what it was like to play against Ayton for the first time. The 3-time All-Star said he noticed Ayton being “extra” aggressive against his old squad. Booker then challenged the 25-year-old to keep the same energy every night.

“It’s fun. … He played extra hard tonight. I’ve seen that. My challenge for him is to play like that every night,” said Booker.

Ayton, a former first overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft, never had his talent in question. However, his play waxed and waned over the course of a season while he was playing for the Suns.

There appeared to be growing animosity between Ayton and the Suns organization before the big man was dealt to the Blazers.

Despite any lingering beef between Ayton and the Suns, Booker appeared to want his former teammate to thrive in his new situation.

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