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Durant dominates in first game back as Nets blast Suns 128-119

The Slim Reaper showed why he’s still considered amongst the game’s best.

Phoenix Suns v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

This one certainly did not disappoint in terms of a full-on display of basketball efficacy and sorcery.

Unless, of course, you wanted the Suns to pull out a victory. Then you might be feeling a bit downtrodden.

Nonetheless, it was a matchup that had NBA Finals flair written all over it, and the players who took part in it each did their due diligence to ensure that its script was written beautifully.

There is arguably no game as aesthetically pleasing as basketball, and the men responsible for ESPN’s matinee battle royal showed the effortlessly. Look up “basketball magic” in a dictionary, and it’s likely that pictures of either: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul or Devin Booker won’t follow far behind. Here’s how the wizardry between these men and their respective troupes played out.

1st QTR

The scoring output began on a slowly charged uptick as both units felt each other out; trading a couple sparring blows before fully unleashing the breadth of their arsenals.

Kyrie Irving was fluid and smooth per usual, and Uncle Drew seemingly had a blatant mission to remind folks of his calculated scoring prowess after a less-than-sultry points display vs. Boston. He followed a lackluster 4-19 clip in his last affair with three straight baskets to open his afternoon.

While Kyrie did his thing without strain, Deandre Ayton absolutely pulverized his opponents inside. Monty Williams called his number with a blunt abundance to begin the foray, and Ayton — hungry to prove that he can distinguish himself as a force when the lights are brightest, shined like the team name that dons the front of his jersey.

He was key in bringing the squad back from an early deficit, and kept them in contention through around the four-minute mark, before Cam Johnson sprayed home a corner trey to give PHX a 21-18 advantage. Torrey Craig provided the unit with several big hustle plays and offensive rebounds, positioning himself in a slew of gritty scrums in what was undoubtedly a testy face-off, while Mike James gave the opposing Nets a needed spark off the bench.

Phoenix led 32-27 after one. Kyrie went off for 16 big ones in the quarter, while Devin Booker led the Suns with 10. Torrey Craig had seven, and Ayton recorded eight points on a 4-6 mark from the floor.

Phoenix outscored Brooklyn in the paint 16-8.


Two quick buckets from Craig and Johnson upped Phoenix’s edge to nine, and it looked as if the team was ready to ascend into double-digit realms with its lead as they held steadfast on defense.

Jevon Carter was pesky as ever in the few minutes he played against Kyrie Irving, while Frank Kaminsky knocked down a couple big shots in a rare appearance.

But Brooklyn just wouldn’t go away.

Despite finding dry footing on what is usually the team’s bread-and-butter statistic (the Nets were shooting just 3/11 from deep midway through the second), their heart and energy kept them within striking distance.

They stayed in contention with difference-making efforts from the likes of Bruce Brown and Blake Griffin, before Steve Nash unleashed his deadly torpedo cannon.

Enter (Sandman) Kevin Durant, who was deployed about four-five minutes into the period to do what he does best — put adversaries to sleep.

He didn’t seem to miss a beat after an extended hiatus from in-game action, and leveled off a vintage mid-range jumper, before nailing an un-blockable floater to push the momentum pendulum right back in his team’s direction.

CP3 and Co. were not flustered though, and after Durant’s double-entendre, Paul spearheaded an 11-3 run, led by several dime-package delight passes that placed his teammates in easy positions to convert.

Mr. Timeless himself — Jeff Green had a response to slow the dam flooding, and jammed home a furious thunderbolt in the lane to quell the bleeding. Irving then capitalized on his teammate’s exports, knocking down an array of baskets to put the Nets down four, 58-54.

DeAndre Jordan’s tip with .3 remaining slimmed the edge to 61-59, and the Suns escaped the half with a 61-59 advantage.

Kyrie had a doozy of a half with 24 points, with just one missed FG (6/7), and a 9/9 mark from the charity stripe. Durant finished with nine points. Book had 13, and Craig provided 12.

3rd QTR

Thus began the Kevin Durant vs. Devin Booker show.

DB knocked down back-to-back shots to open 3rd quarter play, and the Suns came out with a hurried pace of play, blasting through screens and crashing the boards on defense with full knowledge of the deadly capabilities Brooklyn possessed should they catch fire.

Well — the Nets did just that.

Kyrie came right back with a few heated fireballs of his own, continuing his efficiency-masterpiece with subsequent flurries to tie the scoring tally at 67.

The Nets took their first lead since the first quarter towards the close of the third, going up 69-67 (which marked their 1st advantage since 26-25) on an oop toss to DeAndre Jordan.

Both teams continued to throw haymakers, as big shots began to fall like domino’s in succession: Booker, Paul, Durant, Irving.

But the Nets’ bench thoroughly outplayed Phoenix’s.

Tyler Johnson knocked a few clutch tries, including a wide-open look in the left corner, while Jeff Green and Blake Griffin added notches of their own to the scorebook.

Brooklyn outshot the Suns from three at a massive rate (8/10 vs. 2/9), and they closed on a 7-2 spurt to end the third up 97-92.

4th QTR

Bad turned to worse in the fourth.

You ever get an uneasy feeling of incumbent disastrous happenings before they occur? Well that was this final quarter for the Suns — as Brooklyn levied home a defiant striking deathblow to their visiting guests in Barclays.

Kevin Durant represented his Instagram handle to a tee — Easy. Money. Sniper. He was calm and consistent on the floor as Steve Nash kept him in the lineup to close the foray.

Blake Griffin got in on the scoring parade as well, and Joe Harris — who’d been relatively quiet throughout the matchup — began showing off his deft shooting touch as well.

Meanwhile, PHX faltered, as forced turnovers and missed baskets plagued their efforts for creeping back into close quarters. Devin Booker remained marvelous, but he received little help from his compatriots, and they were barely able to scratch single-digits again as Brooklyn slammed the door on an emphatic statement win. Final score: 128-119.

Booker finished with 36 points on 50% shooting, while Paul had 14 and eight assists, and Ayton posted 20 points to complement 13 rebounds. Torrey Craig had 20 off the bench.

Kevin Durant was magnificent in his first game back from the injury shelf, going off for 33 points on 12-21 from the floor. Irving scored 34 on 10-19, sinking all nine of his free throws.

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