Suns' Deandre Ayton on Road Fans: 'When You Talk Smack, We Smack Your Team'April 15, 2022
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton doesn't sound like he's going to be intimidated during road playoff games.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Ayton had a simple message for fans of opposing teams who might be considering talking trash when their squad plays the Suns.
"When you talk smack, we smack your team," he said.
Despite making it to the NBA Finals last season, this will be the first year that Ayton and the Suns have to play in front of full arenas in the postseason.
Most teams were still operating with limited attendance when the 2021 playoffs began. By the time the Suns reached the NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks were up to 95 percent capacity (16,500 fans) for the series.
Playing in front of full crowds will be a slightly different experience, but it hasn't been a problem for the Suns all season. They have been the most consistent team from the start, running away with the league's best record (64-18).
The Suns led the NBA in net rating during the regular season at plus-7.5, per Basketball Reference. They have a veteran-laden roster that went through the playoff grind last season.
Ayton set a career high with a 63.4 percent field-goal rate this season. He led the Suns in rebounding (10.2 per game) and ranked second in scoring (17.2) in the regular season.
Phoenix will open its quest to get back to the NBA Finals on Sunday at Footprint Center against the winner of the New Orleans Pelicans-Los Angeles Clippers play-in tournament game.