Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

FILE – Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns walks off the court docket following the primary half of the NBA recreation at Footprint Heart on March 25, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Photographs/AFP

All indicators are pointing upward for the Phoenix Suns, who reportedly could have star Kevin Durant again within the lineup for Wednesday’s matchup in opposition to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.

Acquired from the Brooklyn Nets ultimately month’s commerce deadline, Durant performed three street video games earlier than struggling a sprained left ankle throughout pregame warmups on March 8.

Phoenix (40-35) has gone 4-6 with Durant out of the lineup however nonetheless holds the fourth spot within the Western Convention playoff race. Suns followers have been ready patiently for the two-time Finals MVP to make his residence debut.

“I at all times use the time period ‘checking the bins,’” Suns coach Monty Williams mentioned of Durant’s comeback journey. “It’s a must to get the ache and swelling out and all of that and then you definitely progress onto the ground with pictures. And I’ve seen him go from cardio to taking pictures to have the ability to rise up and down a bit of bit and get himself ready to go to the subsequent degree.”

Including Durant to the combo comes at a great time, because the Suns look like trending in the fitting course. Phoenix gained its second straight recreation on Monday, beating the Utah Jazz 117-103.

Devin Booker scored 24 factors to steer the Suns, who outscored Utah 57-25 in bench factors. Deandre Ayton returned after lacking 4 video games with a bruised hip and scored 14 factors, whereas reserves Terrence Ross, Cameron Payne and Bismack Biyombo mixed for 36.

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots over Ochai Agbaji #30 of the Utah Jazz through the first half at Vivint Enviornment on March 27, 2023 in Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah. Alex Goodlett/Getty Photographs/AFP

Booker has averaged 31.7 factors within the 10 video games with out Durant, however Phoenix has additionally acquired a lift from its bench over the previous week.

“It’s going to be good,” Suns guard Chris Paul mentioned of Durant’s return. “A man who signifies that a lot to your staff, you don’t know what you seem like till he’s taking part in. A variety of guys have been stepping up, filling voids, nevertheless it’ll be good to see what we’re going to seem like.”

Phoenix has gained two of the primary three conferences this season in opposition to Minnesota (39-37), which is in a battle for the sixth spot within the Western Convention playoff race.

Minnesota prolonged its successful streak to 4 video games with a 119-115 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday. Jaden McDaniels scored 20 factors to steer the Wolves. Karl-Anthony Cities sat out the sport attributable to harm administration for his proper calf pressure, however he must be out there in opposition to the Suns.

Naz Reid scored 18 factors within the win over Sacramento, whereas Anthony Edwards scored 17 and Rudy Gobert had 16 factors and 16 rebounds. The win moved Minnesota inside 1 1/2 video games of the Suns for the No. 4 seed.

“We all know we’ve the expertise and the personnel to have the ability to beat anyone on any given night time,” Gobert mentioned. “Actually out of urgency and consistency. … We play each recreation prefer it’s our final and we play each recreation like there’s no tomorrow. That’s the mindset that we’d like.”

The Wolves’ latest surge has been sparked by Reid, who’s averaging 20.2 factors off the bench within the final 5 video games.

“He’s such an enormous shot within the arm,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch mentioned of Reid. “He’s a mismatch drawback plenty of the time. His vitality, his exercise. He makes huge pictures for us, can end on the rim, provides us a rolling menace. Simply all the things. I’m actually happy along with his protection, too.”


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