Most players would be quite unhappy facing elimination in the NBA Finals, particularly after holding a 2-0 series lead. Deandre Ayton is apparently not one of them.
The Phoenix Suns center said after Saturday’s Game 5 loss that he liked that the team was now the underdog against the Milwaukee Bucks, adding that it’s “more fun” to be the desperate team.
“I like it. It’s fun; now the tables have turned,” Ayton said, via Mark Medina of USA Today. “Now we are the desperate team. We had our chances of being up and trying to finish the job, now we are in the same position they were in. They are upstairs, and now we have to go find it. That’s why it’s a little more fun. “
It’s anyone’s guess if Ayton is trying to convince himself of that mindset or is just enjoying the pressure. The Suns have struggled and weathered adversity all season, and maybe that attitude has something to do with it. Still, it’s a safe bet that even if Ayton likes this place, he’d rather be on the show or have it already insured.
Ayton scored 22 points and had 19 rebounds in Game 1, his best performance in the Finals so far. He may have to be that good again for the Suns to win in Milwaukee and force Game 7. He certainly won’t want to finish in the wrong end of one of the most important plays of the series again neither.