Kevin Durant’s hot 1st quarter and highlight dunk provide fireworks vs. Jazz

Feb 8, 2024, 8:21 PM | Updated: 11:07 pm

Kevin Durant...

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the second half of the NBA game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Footprint Center on February 06, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

With Devin Booker out against the Utah Jazz due to hip soreness, the Phoenix Suns turned to Kevin Durant to set the tone on offense. Durant answered the call, scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

Durant scored on the first possession and had seven of the Suns’ first nine points. Bradley Beal assisted on the first bucket while Grayson Allen dished out assists on the next two.

In addition to his 19 points in the opening frame, Durant added two assists, one steal and one block, playing all 12 minutes.

A Suns player has scored more than 19 in the first quarter only seven times with Booker responsible for six of them, most recently on Jan. 26 with 29 points. That was his 62-points season high in Indiana.

Allen notched nine first half assists, already beating his previous career high of eight in a game.

Durant kept up his strong performance, adding a highlight dunk in a second straight game, this time after dropping rookie Taylor Hendricks. The dunk was part of a 28-12 run for Phoenix after Utah had cut the lead to three.

Bol Bol added a runaway dunk of his own after Hendricks got beat off the dribble again. Bol finished with six points and two blocks in 14 minutes.

Durant was the game’s high scorer with 31 points on 14-of-23 shooting followed by Beal with 30 as the Suns won 129-115 for their 12th win in their last 15 games.

Utah — and former Arizona Wildcats — forward Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 22 points.

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