Phoenix Suns battling 3-point math as Kevin Durant fights through cold spell

Feb 28, 2024, 7:54 PM

Kevin Durant and Frank Vogel, Phoenix Suns...

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns and head coach Frank Vogel talk during the second half of the NBA game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Footprint Center on February 06, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Bucks 114-106. (Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

The math around the 3-pointer has been a point of emphasis for the Phoenix Suns all season, rearing its ugly head as the Suns have only outshot their opponents from 3 once in the last five games.

Kevin Durant talked after practice on Wednesday about taking fewer “bad 3s” that aren’t in rhythm or are too deep without any offensive actions.

Durant, who is 13-for-50 (26%) from 3 over his last eight games, says when he’s not shooting the ball well from deep, it’s a product of “rushing 3s or trying to shoot heat checks.” His percentage on the deep looks has decreased over each of the last four months, starting at 54.1% in November and landing at 33.9% in February.

“I should’ve put more pressure on the rim and then maybe that third 3 would’ve went down,” Durant said, referring to a fourth quarter in which he shot 0-for-3 from 3 in a loss to the Houston Rockets. He finished just 1-of-7 from 3 in that game but was 9-for-15 inside the arc.

“For Kevin Durant, (a bad 3 is) one that gets blocked,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “Other than that, there’s no such thing.”

The coach added that he still wants to see Durant and the Suns continue to fire the deeper looks.

The team was shooting 35 per game to start the season in October but that number reached as low as 29.6 per game in December before creeping back up to 32.2 in February. On the season, there’s a nearly-2.0 attempt difference between wins (32.4) and losses (30.5).

Houston more than doubled Phoenix’s total 3-pointers made in that loss 15-7, attempting nearly 15 more. Durant pointed to that math ahead of two more matchups with Houston on Thursday and Saturday at Footprint Center.

“We don’t want terrible 3s,” Vogel said. “We want good shots, but (Durant’s) got a green light.”

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