Phoenix Suns superstar Kevin Durant made his long-awaited home debut on Wednesday, March 29. After missing the previous 10 games with an ankle injury, Durant was looking to put on a show in front of Suns fans for the first time.
Missing his first six attempts from the floor wasn’t the start Durant hoped for, but it didn’t seem to bother his coach, Monty Williams, who gave Durant words of encouragement.
“What you shaking your head for?” Williams said as Durant walked to the sideline in the second quarter. “It’s part of it. Greatness don’t shake its head. Feel me?”
Durant, who appeared to be working off the rust, didn’t score his first field goal until there was 5:23 left in the second quarter. Williams has been known for his ability to connect with players and this instance with his superstar forward was no different.
Phoenix Suns Star Kevin Durant Delivers Despite Slow Start
While it wasn’t the shooting night that is expected from Durant, the Suns superstar still delivered with his impact on the court. Durant would finish the night with 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting and 8 rebounds.
Heading into halftime, Durant found himself just 1-of-8 from the field, resulting in Durant’s changing his shoes for the second half. In a close game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Durant would deliver a pair of crucial 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter.
In his postgame press conference, Monty Williams wasn’t worried about the slow start of his superstar forward. Williams acknowledged that Durant will have to get his conditioning back but said he knew that Durant would get to the player that everyone is familiar with.
“You look at the shooting numbers, you’re like, ‘That’s not Kevin,'” Williams said. “That’s his fourth time playing in who knows how long. I thought he battled on both ends. I think his cardio’s got to get back to the level where he wants it. Once he gets that, we’ll see the Kevin that we all know.”
Suns Star Devin Booker Continues Stellar Play
While the return of Durant to the court was the story of the night, his teammate continue to shine with his play on the court. With Durant out, superstar Devin Booker has been playing some of his best basketball of the 2022-23 season.
Booker was sensational once again in Phoenix’s 107-100 win on Wednesday, March 29 against the Timberwolves. He would finish with 29 points, five rebounds and four assists while shooting 8-of-18 from the field and 12-of-15 from the free throw line.
With just six games remaining in the regular season, Booker has started to find his groove just in time for the playoffs. In his last twelve games, the superstar guard is averaging 31.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 56.1% from the field and 38.9% from three-point range.
The next challenge for Booker and the Suns will be getting prepared for a Western Conference showdown on Friday, March 31 against the Denver Nuggets. While the Suns have quietly put together three straight wins in impressive fashion, the Nuggets have control of the top seed in the West. Both teams have the talent to make an extended run in the NBA playoffs, suggesting that Friday night could be a potential playoffs preview of two title contenders.