Ayton thriving with competition at Summer League; Pistons top Pelicans
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Deandre Ayton is having no problem with the competition or the schedule at the NBA level.
Ayton outplayed a fellow top rookie big man for the second time, keeping the Phoenix Suns undefeated in preliminary play in Las Vegas.
Another full day of basketball Monday, highlighted by Ayton against Orlando’s Mo Bamba in a matchup of unbeaten teams, was the third game in four days for the 20 teams in action at the NBA Summer League. The games are shorter than a regular NBA game — 40 minutes instead of 48 — and there’s no travel, but it’s still a lot of action in a short amount of time.
Some teams even gave players a rest day during the stretch of games, knowing there will be more ahead. Every team is guaranteed five games, with the possibility of playing as many as eight games in 12 days.
Ayton didn’t look like he needed a break after scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the Suns’ 71-53 victory over the Magic. The No. 1 pick said it was his first victory over Bamba, the No. 6 pick, after he beat fellow high school teammate and No. 2 selection Marvin Bagley III on Saturday.
“With all the excitement and all the fans coming out here, it just really made me a lot more comfortable,” Ayton said in an interview on NBA TV. “And I just want to put on a show for them to be honest and just win as many games as I play.”
There won’t be any more for Bagley, as the Sacramento Kings announced that an MRI revealed a pelvic bone bruise. The Kings said Bagley would rest for a week or two.
Monday was the last of the 10-game slates on the campus of UNLV. There are only five games Tuesday before teams are seeded for tournament play that begins Wednesday.
PISTONS 105, PELICANS 97
Henry Ellenson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Detroit (1-2) avoided going winless in preliminary play. The former lottery pick also had two steals but committed six turnovers.
Bruce Brown and Khyri Thomas each added 12 points for the Pistons.
Cheick Diallo scored 25 points in the Pelicans’ first loss in Las Vegas. Walter Lemmon Jr. and Shavon Shields each finished with 14 points for New Orleans (2-1).