NBA regular season

Suns top Nets in Kevin Durant’s return to old stomping ground


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Suns top Nets in Kevin Durant’s return to old stomping ground

FAMILIAR FOE. Suns forward Kevin Durant controls the ball against his former team, the Nets.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kevin Durant hears a mix of cheers and boos as the Suns superstar returns to Brooklyn a year after requesting a trade from the Nets

Kevin Durant heard some cheers in pregame introductions and scored 33 points in his return to Brooklyn as the Phoenix Suns surged ahead in the third quarter for a 136-120 victory over the Nets in New York on Wednesday night, January 31 (Thursday, February 1, Manila time).

With his mother watching courtside, a brief video honoring Durant before the game was met with some cheers from fans. 

He played his last game for the Nets on January 8, 2023, before requesting a trade to the Suns and getting his wish at last season’s trade deadline.

Hearing boos when he touched the ball, Durant made 10-of-16 shots, hit 11 free throws and scored 11 in the third quarter when the Suns shot 76.2% (16-of-21) and outscored the Nets, 42-26, to widen a three-point halftime lead to 19. 

Durant also finished with 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

After the game, Durant shared a brief embrace with Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn and several former teammates.

Jusuf Nurkic added 28 and 11 boards as the Suns outrebounded the Nets, 42-27. 

Devin Booker contributed 22 and 8 assists, while Eric Gordon registered 17 points. The Suns shot 62% from the floor.

Cam Thomas scored 25 points for the Nets, who were unable to get their third straight win. Former Sun Mikal Bridges added 21 and Lonnie Walker IV contributed 19 as the Nets played without Ben Simmons due to a bruised left knee.

Bradley Beal’s triple snapped a 75-75 tie and started a 24-6 spurt that gave the Suns a 99-81 lead on Durant’s three-point play with 2:24 left in the third. The Suns maintained the cushion and entered the fourth quarter with a 106-87 lead.

Brooklyn inched back while Durant rested in the fourth, getting within 111-98 on a Bridges triple with 8:28 remaining. The Nets trailed 115-103 after Walker’s trey with 6:25 left, but Durant’s dunk made it 122-109 with 4:08 remaining. 

The Suns clinched it when Gordon and Booker hit back-to-back three-pointers to make it 134-118 with a little over a minute left. –

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