Devin Booker Challenged Deandre Ayton To Play ‘Extra Hard’ Every Night After Their First Regular Season Matchup

The Phoenix Suns took down the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, 120-107. It was a big win for Phoenix, as the team kept itself in contention for a wild card spot to move onto the knockout round in the In-Season Tournament — the Los Angeles Lakers clinched Group A last night, too, so Phoenix’s only path forward involves being the last team to make the knockouts among the Western Conference squads.

This was also the first regular season game that Blazers center Deandre Ayton played against his old team. Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, spent the first five years of his career in Phoenix, and while there were some incredible highs during his tenure, there were plenty of strange moments that led to people questioning if he’d stay there long-term. That got answered over the summer when he was moved to Portland, and after the game, Suns standout Devin Booker gave his thoughts on his first regular season matchup with ayton.

“It’s fun,” Booker said. “It’s, I think, our first time in the regular season. I’m happy we came out with the win, he played extra hard tonight, I’ve seen that. And my challenge for him is to play like that every night.”

Ayton was moved to the Blazers in the three-team deal that saw Portland send Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks. He scored 18 points with eight rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block in 31 minutes of work on Tuesday evening.