During All-Star Weekend 2019, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving solidified their decision to join forces as free agents the following summer. Four years later, in the same arena, a new partnership was unveiled as Durant played for the first time as a member of the Phoenix Suns. With Devin Booker by his side, Durant showcased early signs of a potentially devastating one-two punch in a 105-91 win against the Charlotte Hornets, snapping their five-game win streak. Kevin Durant Shines in Suns Debut, Scoring 23 Points after Returning from Injury.
Kevin Durant Shines in Suns Debut, Scoring 23 Points after Returning from Injury
Despite being out since January 8 due to a right MCL sprain, Durant looked rust-free and scored 23 points in just 27 minutes. He expressed his comfort with his new team, saying, “I feel like I fit in pretty well. Everybody out there was trying to make me as comfortable as possible.” He also noted that he still had to keep grinding and that wearing the Suns jersey would become normal as games went on.
Durant’s playmaking combination with Booker left the biggest impression on the game. The two players created a wing-scoring duo that the Suns had been seeking when they acquired Durant. Booker had a terrific all-around game, scoring 37 points, grabbing six rebounds, and dishing out seven assists. The partnership between Durant and Booker looked promising, and Suns fans will be excited to see what they can accomplish together. Durant’s successful debut with the Suns signaled a positive start to his new partnership with Booker. With his talent and the support of his teammates, Durant has the potential to help the Suns make a deep playoff run this season.
The Phoenix Suns secured a stress-free victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to the efforts of their star guard Devin Booker and the return of Kevin Durant to the Nets’ lineup. Booker marvelled at Durant’s effortless shooting, which made it seem like defenders were unable to stop him no matter how hard they tried. When the two stars were separated, the Suns’ game plan became clear: Durant played stretches with four bench players, and each time he drilled a series of his trademark midrange jumpers, the score went from close to double-digit Phoenix leads. He ended up shooting an impressive 10-of-15 from the field.
Booker, meanwhile, went to work when Durant was resting, making 15 of 26 shots off the assists of Chris Paul, who had 11 assists, as usual. Once Durant’s minute restriction is lifted and his playing time alongside Booker increases, the Suns’ full potential can be unlocked. Coach Monty Williams praised Durant’s ability to get to his spot and create high-quality shots, which he said the team fed off of. However, concerns about the top-heavy nature of the Suns’ scoring were also evident, as only one other player, Deandre Ayton, scored in double figures with 16 points.
Despite these concerns, the Suns’ victory over the Nets showcased the team’s potential, especially with the dynamic duo of Booker and Paul leading the way. If the Suns can find more consistent scoring from their supporting cast, they could be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA playoffs. The game was a reminder of Durant’s incredible skill and the impact he can have on a game, even in limited minutes. It also highlighted the potential of the Suns’ star players, who will need to continue to lead the way if the team hopes to make a deep playoff run.
Chris Paul had another poor shooting night, going 1-of-8, and Josh Okogie, who kept his starting spot, scored only four points for the Suns. The team also struggled to draw fouls, with three players who specialize in midrange shots. In contrast, the Charlotte Hornets drew 13 more free throws despite missing star player LaMelo Ball due to a broken ankle.
Kelly Oubre Jr. led the Hornets with 26 points but struggled with his shooting, going 9-of-24 from the field. Despite this, the Suns’ calculated plan to ease Kevin Durant back into the lineup was successful, with bonus practice and conditioning time leading up to a game against one of the league’s weaker teams. Durant himself admitted to feeling nervous in his new environment with new teammates, feeling the pressure to prove himself to his coaches and teammates every single day. However, the Nets’ star’s return was a success, and his effortless shooting made it seem like defenders were unable to stop him no matter how hard they tried.
Overall, the game showcased the Suns’ potential, especially with the dynamic duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul leading the way. However, concerns about the team’s top-heavy scoring and struggles with drawing fouls remain. Nonetheless, if the Suns can find more consistent scoring from their supporting cast, they could be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA playoffs.