Kevin Durant gives strong 1st impression to Suns with 23 points in win

Mar 1, 2023, 7:15 PM | Updated: 7:23 pm

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball while guarded by Gordon Hayward #20 of the Cha...

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball while guarded by Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets in the first quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on March 01, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Kevin Durant returned from a 20-game absence for his Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday and he looked like himself against the Charlotte Hornets.

Durant, on a minutes restriction, played 27 and scored 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting with six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a 105-91 win. The Suns were +13 when Durant was on the floor.

Durant’s first bucket was a left-handed layup in semi-transition.

He made his defensive impact felt early to set up his first triple in the purple and orange too.

Durant got to his unguardable pull-up jumper for some buckets as well.

When the Hornets got within six through three quarters, Durant scored nine points in six minutes to quickly put Phoenix back up 11.

Devin Booker was the man for Phoenix with 37 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Durant made his debut a full three weeks after the Suns traded for the superstar on Feb. 8, the night before the trade deadline. He missed six additional games with the Suns, making it 20 total for him since he suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee in early January.

He started alongside Ayton, Booker, Josh Okogie and Chris Paul. While Durant was sidelined, Okogie started with Torrey Craig, leading to the question of who would be the fifth starter among the two. Okogie, at least for Wednesday, got the nod.


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