Can Kevin Durant take the Suns to the Finals after stellar debut?
Kevin Durant scored 23 factors on 66.7% taking pictures (10-of-15) in his debut with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, serving to his new crew snap the Charlotte Hornets‘ five-game successful streak with a wire-to-wire 105-91 highway victory.
Durant, acquired in a blockbuster commerce with the Brooklyn Nets on the NBA commerce deadline on Feb. 9, confirmed no lingering results from a sprained proper MCL that had beforehand saved him out of motion for greater than seven weeks. The 34-year-old veteran added six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 27 minutes. He solely turned the ball over twice.
After the sport, Durant shared that he felt a way of consolation.
“I feel like I fit in pretty well,” Durant stated. “Everybody out there was trying to make me as comfortable as possible.”
On Thursday’s “Undisputed,” Skip Bayless gave his first impression of the new-look Suns, saying that he believes Durant slot in reasonably seamlessly along with his new membership.
“After one game against Charlotte, I’m going to move [the Suns] to the front of the line in the Western Conference,” Bayless stated. “All of a sudden, Kevin Durant walks in the door … [and] it looks like he was playing back-to-back as a 22-year-old. The jumper is rust-proof. I don’t know how he does it. … This is the team to beat this year.”
Kevin Durant scores 23 factors in Phoenix Suns debut
On the opposite aspect, Shannon Sharpe wasn’t able to crown the Suns as NBA champions simply but, though he too thought that Durant’s debut was spectacular and worthwhile.
“We saw the debut of Kevin Durant, who looks absolutely unbelievable, like we thought he would, like we knew he would [be] considering he’s a guy that doesn’t need to dominate the basketball in order to be extremely efficient,” Sharpe stated. “He came in, and he looked like Kevin Durant. But you want me to sit here and say that after one game that this is the NBA champ? They beat the Hornets without their best player. I’m supposed to deduce that from that? I can’t.
“I’m a agency believer that two issues could be true. Kevin Durant seemed unbelievable. Devin Booker seemed unbelievable. Deandre Ayton was dominant. They performed the Hornets with out LaMelo Ball. … Kevin Durant is gonna slot in with anybody as a result of he isn’t ball dominant. … Where would not Kevin Durant slot in at? I’m not prepared to leap to the conclusion that you simply’re making an attempt to get me to go to.”
With Wednesday’s win, Phoenix (34-29) remain in fourth place in the Western Conference standings behind Denver (44-19), Memphis (38-23) and Sacramento (36-25).
In his debut, Durant made two 3s, a flurry of mid-range jumpers and provided a defensive boost, blocking Hornets rookie center Mark Williams twice in the opening five minutes. Durant scored 12 points in the first half as Phoenix opened a 57-41 lead. Later, he hit a 17-footer off a ball fake, drawing a foul to set up a three-point play before knocking down three more mid-range jumpers to push the lead to 12 and finish with nine points in the fourth quarter.
The Suns have 19 games remaining in their regular season and are just 1.5 games ahead of fifth-place Golden State.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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