The 49-10 Phoenix Suns played the 23-36 New Orleans Pelicans last night, hoping for their 50th victory of the season.
Instead, they lost. By 15. They trailed most of the game.
As a crazy fan, I automatically blamed the officiating. I still do, partly. There’s absolutely no way the Pelicans should have gone to the free throw line 41 times, compared to 24 times for the Suns.
Phoenix was called for 27 fouls by the way, including a blocking foul on Cam Johnson that was clearly an offensive foul on New Orleans. This was after Devin Booker got whacked on his attempt with no whistle.
After I calmed down, took a couple breaths and smiled knowing the Suns are still 49-11, I took a look at the box score to see where else the game went wrong.
One thing stood out to me like a sore thumb.
Phoenix allowed 16 offensive rebounds, the same amount of rebounds they were outrebounded by in total, with the count 37 to 53.
The biggest dude on the court for the Suns, Deandre Ayton at 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds had a whopping FIVE boards in 32 minutes.
In comparison, Torrey Craig at 6-foot-7 and 221 pounds led the team with 11 caroms in 25 minutes off the bench.
The biggest dude on the court for the Pelicans, Jonas Valanciunas at 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds had 17 rebounds in 33 minutes.
That’s simply unacceptable.
Now, before you block me on Twitter thinking I’m knocking on our big man, I’m not.
This is meant to be taken as constructive criticism and a challenge.
I challenge our #1 pick to get double-digit rebounds in each game. The team is so much better when he does.
When he’s done that this season, the Suns are 20-1, compared to 11-7 when he doesn’t.
In 11 games in the month of February, Ayton is averaging a mere 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. Now, while that’s not bad, we all know he can do a heck of a lot better. And this team is so much better when he’s in beast mode like we know he can be.
Against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 10th, in a Finals rematch, Phoenix won in dominant fashion destroying their foe by a final score of 131-107. DA went 12-for-14 from the field for 27 points in arguably his best offensive showing this season.
Remember when Giannis blocked that dunk attempt of his in the Finals? Well, Deandre made darn sure it wasn’t happening again and pretty much put the Greek Freak in the basket too.
Fixed it. pic.twitter.com/x9rfB428WB— Gene (@geneayton) February 11, 2022
When he’s aggressive on offense, good things happen.
I challenge him to take at least 11 shots in each game for the final 22 games of the season. Again, this team is better when he does.
Doing so, this year’s Suns squad is 19-3 compared to 12-5 when he doesn’t.
Chris Paul is likely out for the rest of the regular season and everyone needs to step up. Many players already have and it’s time to see the same out of our Beast from the Bahamas.
We know how good he can be and that he can show without a doubt that he deserves that max contract and get PAID by this team that he is helping be so successful.
Show out, DA. Let’s go!
Top of the arc and DA making it SPLASH! pic.twitter.com/g9oXrs7P7t— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 26, 2022