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Video/quotes: Kevin Durant talks first home game with Suns, overcoming slow start

Durant missed his first six shots but had a better game once he settled in

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PHOENIX — Here is what Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant said after his first home game with the team against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night.

Durant missed his first six shots but made five of his last 12 and finished with 16 points along with eight rebounds and four assists in just under 29 minutes.

Postgame videos from Suns coach Monty Williams and shooting guard Devin Booker are attached below the transcription of Durant’s press conference.

On returning to play with the Suns in his first home game:

“Yeah, it felt good. Missed playing, missed being with the guys. It was a good win for us, and we needed this one. But yeah, it felt good being out there again.”

On playing his first game back from a sprained left ankle:

“Didn’t feel it at all. It felt great.”

On how frustrating it was to miss his first six shots but then recover to have a better game:

“Yeah, it’s frustrating, but I’ve been in this position before and had slow starts before. So I just tried to figure it out, I think. A couple of those shots though, I definitely were rushing, trying to get it back all at once. Sometimes, I can get in my own way sometimes, thinking too much and trying to get those shots back. But tried to settle in as much as I can, my teammates looked for me. (Suns backup guard) Cam (Payne) got me two open threes, which was good for me. So just getting comfortable, getting more comfortable and hopefully, I’ll knock them down next game.”

On what suffering his ankle sprain in pregame warmups for a March 8 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was like and his three-week recovery:

“Yeah, it was frustrating. But I’ve been through rehabs and injuries before, so I just tried to go in there and every day, just try to be the best that I can in the rehab and focus on that, and when I’m ready to play, I’ll be ready to play. So I’m looking forward to keep building though, man. It’s been in-and-out of the lineup for me since January. So I want to get some consistent minutes with the guys, some good reps with the guys.”

If he still gets nervous for a game like this:

“Yeah, I was just saying that to the guys in the locker room that it was hard for me to get sleep today. It was hard for me to stop thinking about the game. And sometimes, you can want it too bad, and you come out there and play like, you start rushing and start taking, being uncharacteristic. I’m glad I’m back, I’m glad I’m into the zone of playing again and being around the guys and being one of the guys again. So just keep building from here.”

On how he felt like he was able to settle in defensively:

“Pretty good. I think I can provide some versatility to the group and rebounding as well. We’re all on the same page. We had a few mistakes, but that happens in a game. But I think for the most part, we were on the same page. To hold this team to 100 points, I think they won four or five in a row (it was four), that’s pretty good for us. So just keep building on that.”

If he tried to get settled defensively amid a slow shooting start:

“Yeah, I mean I felt like, throughout the game, defense always comes first. Regardless of shots going in, we still got to defend and rebound. And we had a little slump there to start the fourth quarter and the start of the third quarter. But we worked our way out of it by guarding up and getting rebounds and getting out in transition and getting some easy points.”

If he feels cursed with some of the injuries he has had in his career:

“(Inaudible), no. I mean, look at my life. Somebody cursed me? You can’t say that though, man. I mean, [expletive], when Ieave this arena now, my life look pretty good. But it’s just part of the game, man. It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. I felt like I was going to play (all) 82 games this year, but it is what it is. I learned how to conquer different parts of the game, rehab is one of them. So I just tried my to do my best in that and come back and pick up where I left off.”

On how he goes about trying to fit in with the Suns:

“Just playing the right way, for one. But also knowing what I bring to the table and knowing how I can help this team and inject some energy into this team on the defensive side of the ball, scoring in transition, scoring in the mid-range, shooting the three. So just having confidence in myself and the work that I’ve put in, but also knowing just to play the right way. Simple as that.”

On what it felt like to play for Phoenix at home:

“It was cool. I tried not to bask in it too much. I know everybody was anticipating it and waiting on it since the last time I stepped on the floor for warmups. So I’m glad we was able to do it again and get through it and move on from here. So every game we get to play at home is good for our camaraderie, our chemistry. We wanted to protect our home floor, and tonight was another night.”

If the pregame warmup felt different and if he had a sigh of relief once it was done:

“Nah, it didn’t. Nah, man. Everything felt normal. Like I said, I’m glad I’m out there.”

Why he decided to change shoes at halftime:

“Yeah, because I was 1-for-8. I was trying to find something. So yeah, I tried to find something. But I made more shots in the second half, so I guess it helped.”

On the Suns’ defensive effort:

“I think when both of those things in line (scheme and effort), I think that’s when you have a night like this. (We held the Timberwolves to) 100 points on the night, 44 percent shooting. We didn’t shoot the ball well, so when we don’t shoot the ball well, we still can get stops like that. I think that’s what makes us dangerous. We’re all on the same page, communicating, talking, playing extremely hard. We can get a lot done.”

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