Suns’ Ayton: ‘I feel like I should thank the NBA for gifting me with a Christmas gift of playing on Christmas Day’

The Phoenix Suns continued their winning ways Thursday night as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-101 at Footprint Center.

Devin Booker scored a game-high 30 points, 15 of which came in the third quarter, to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Suns(26-5) extended their winning streak to five games, and also extended their home winning streak to 15.

After trailing by five in the third, Phoenix used a 28-10 run to take complete control of the game, and OKC never threatened after that. 

Now, it’s onto their big Christmas Day showdown against the Warriors(26-6) at Footprint Center. The last time the Suns played on Christmas Day was back in 2009.

Many of Phoenix’s players have not experienced Christmas Day basketball, including Deandre Ayton and Cam Johnson, and both are super excited.

“I’m not going to lie, I feel like I should thank the NBA for gifting me with a Christmas gift of playing on Christmas Day,” Ayton, who added 19 points and 12 rebounds against OKC, said. “A lot of guys that aren’t playing on Christmas are going to be opening their gifts, probably working out, probably getting ready for the next game, but me, I got kids waking up to go see Deandre and the Phoenix Suns play. That’s an honor. You can’t take that for granted. Stuff like that is just hard work. People recognizing us, just winning and stuff like that, and this is the reward. We just have to be grateful and not take it for granted at all.”

Cam Johnson, who scored 21 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field, including a 5-of-5 from downtown against OKC, added: “I’ll be honest with you, I’m viewing it as my first time, ever in my life, playing a basketball game on Christmas—watched NBA games every Christmas since I was a little kid, just the opportunity to go and play in that game. I like the time of the game, 3 P.M.; I’m hoping it stays that way, we show up, get to it. It’s like a dream come true, playing on Christmas, getting out there, and I’m just super excited for that. Never mind whatever else might be going around, just excited to have that game.”

Phoenix is 1-1 against the Warriors this season, and both games had a playoff feel. According to Chris Paul, playing Golden State is a good test for the Suns.

“Playing against Golden State, they always make you think, playing against the Lakers, Milwaukee, all those good teams,” he said. “They’re going to make you think the game, so it’s always a good test for us because every team is different.”

Phoenix and Golden State are the two best teams in basketball, so Saturday’s game against the Warriors should be a lot of fun.

Watch below as Ayton talks win over OKC, playing Warriors on Christmas Day:

Steven Adams signs contract extension with Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans and center Steven Adams have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s two-year, $35 million extension.

The 27-year old Adams was acquired by New Orleans in a four-team trade involving Denver, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City.

The seven-year veteran spent his entire seven-year career with the Thunder.  In 2019-20, Adams averaged 10.9 points on .592 shooting from the floor, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks.

Selected 12th overall out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2013 NBA Draft, Adams ranks fifth all-time in OKC/Seattle franchise history in blocks (531) and first in field goal percentage.