Kevin Durant, Back From Injury, Scores 23 In Winning Suns Debut

Kevin Durant made his choice to team up with Kyrie Irving when both became free agents the following summer at this location during All-Star Weekend 2019. Four years later, a new cooperation in the same field was announced, this time with optimism for a better result. Durant made his debut for the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, and in a 105-91 victory against the Charlotte Hornets to end their five-game winning streak, he displayed early indications of the potential for the lethal one-two punch he may build with Devin Booker. Durant scored 23 points in just 27 minutes, and his jump shot looked unrusty despite being out since January 8 due to a right MCL injury he sustained while playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Everyone around me was trying to make me as comfortable as possible, so I feel like I fit in quite well," Durant said. I just have to keep working hard, guy, and as the games go on, this shirt on me will seem natural. The playmaking partnership between Durant and Booker had the largest impact. They made the kind of wing-scoring tandem that the Durant deal was all about when they were on the court together, as Booker had a great overall game with 37 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. One of those times, according to Booker, when it doesn't really feel genuine. "I mean, it just seems so natural for him to shoot the ball every time. Defenders can be seen making a valiant effort to challenge or engage in combat over a screen, but he merely appears unconcerned or unmoved. Yet the Suns' strategy with Booker and Durant became clear only after they were split up.

In both half, Durant played stretches with four bench players, and both times the score decreased as he nailed a string of his signature midrange shots from close to double-digit Phoenix leads. He finished the game with 10-of-15 shots. As the Suns never trailed and Durant finished with a plus-13 plus/minus, the second-best on the team, those streaks virtually made it a stress-free victory. In Durant's absence, Booker took over and made 15 of 26 shots while working off Chris Paul, who as usual had 11 assists. Durant, who played four six-minute shifts and the last three minutes due to a minutes limit, sat. The team's true potential can be released once the minute limit is lifted and Durant's minutes rise with Booker's, at least that appears to be coach Monty Williams' intention. Williams remarked that it was "simply very awesome" to be able to pass the ball to the player and have him find his place and take a quality shot. The squad, in my opinion, benefited from him tonight just being himself.The game on Wednesday night wasn't flawless, though.

Only Deandre Ayton, the only other player in double digits for the Suns with 16 points, raised concerns about the probable top-heavy nature of their scoring. Paul, who has had trouble hitting shots this season, had another difficult night, going 1-of-8. Josh Okogie scored just four points despite maintaining his starting position and averaging 18.5 points per game after the Durant deal improved his role. The Suns also made a suggestion that it may occasionally be difficult for three players who specialise in midrange shots to get to the foul line. The Hornets, who were without star LaMelo Ball because of a fractured ankle earlier this week, forced an additional 13 free throws. Charlotte was led by Kelly Oubre Jr.  Despite having just 9 of 24 shots while shooting 26 points to lead Charlotte, the Suns only allowed the Hornets to shoot 36%. Yet, the Durant rollout was successful because to a well-thought-out strategy that included extra practise and conditioning time as well as a matchup with one of the league's lesser teams. Durant said that he was yet anxious. No matter what I've accomplished in the NBA, Durant said, "new setting, new circumstance, new teammates—I mean, I always feel I had to prove myself to my teammates and my coaches every single day. "Therefore I feel like I have to be who I am every day under pressure."

Kevin Durant, Back From Injury, Scores 23 In Winning Suns Debut

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