Chris Paul kept Deandre Ayton from getting a historic NBA Finals 20/20

Suns guard Chris Paul and forward Deandre Ayton. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Suns guard Chris Paul and forward Deandre Ayton. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Suns point guard Chris Paul stole a late rebound from Deandre Ayton, denying him a 20th board to give him a historic NBA Finals stat line.

There are NBA fans out there who inexplicably hate Chris Paul.

Their reasons may not always be good, but they just got some new ammunition to bash the Suns star.

Selfishly, Paul stole Deandre Ayton’s chance at posting a 20/20 game in the NBA Finals.

Okay, that’s entirely facetious. Paul did nothing wrong, but it is still funny to watch the point guard grab a meaningless rebound that could have been quite meaningful for his teammate.

Deandre Ayton came a Chris Paul rebound away from a rare NBA Finals feat

Ayton finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds. That one rebound would have given him the first 20/20 game in the NBA Finals since Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.

The 22-year-old will have to be content with being the youngest player to score more than 20 points with 19 or more rebounds since Tommy Heinsohn in 1957, per Basketball Reference.

He’s not holding it against Paul whatsoever.

“Yeah. Book got on him, I didn’t really care,” Ayton said.

Ayton is right to focus on the performance of the team in an impressive 118-105 victory. Still, as an individual, he really has come alive in the postseason. He’s averaging 16.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in his first playoff run. That’s a clear step up from his regular-season averages f 14.4 and 10.5.

The former No. 1 overall pick has provided an interior presence that helped Phoenix get by the Lakers, Nuggets and Clippers. The Suns need him to make a difference in three more victories to claim their first NBA title.

Game 2 against the Bucks is set for Thursday night in Phoenix. Ayton has had 20 points in two of the three Game 2s he’s played so far. Perhaps he’ll be able to take another swing at 20/20.

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