NBA: Red-hot Suns feeding off Kevin Durant ahead of clash with Spurs | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Red-hot Suns feeding off Kevin Durant ahead of clash with Spurs

/ 08:02 PM April 04, 2023

Devin Booker #1 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns stand on the court during a timeout form the second half of the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Footprint Center on March 29, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

FILE– Devin Booker #1 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns stand on the court during a timeout form the second half of the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Footprint Center on March 29, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP 

The Phoenix Suns will go for their sixth straight win when they host the suddenly dangerous San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

Phoenix (43-35) is coming together as the regular season heads into the final stretch and its roster is nearly whole. The Suns flexed their considerable muscle on Sunday in a 128-118 win on the road in Oklahoma City, with Kevin Durant scoring 35 points, 13 of those in the fourth quarter, in Phoenix’s fifth consecutive victory, its longest winning streak since November.

Devin Booker finished with 22 points and 10 assists for the Suns, while Deandre Ayton had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Paul had 16 points and eight assists.

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Phoenix shot 56.8 percent from the floor in Sunday’s win to match its season high. The Suns remain in fourth place in the West and are three games up on the Lakers and New Orleans in the race to clinch the conference’s guaranteed playoff spots without having to participate in the play-in tournament.

The Suns are 6-0 with Durant in the lineup. Phoenix is becoming the team insiders expected it to be when Durant was brought to the Valley of the Sun.

“There’s not a way that he can’t score,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said about Durant after Sunday’s win. “Those kind of players — they want those (clutch) shots. They’re so used to having the ball in their hands. … Guys work their tails off to be ready for those shots and he and Booker are a case in point. That’s what Kevin does.”

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FILE–Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns blocks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter at Paycom Center on April 02, 2023 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ian Maule/Getty Images/AFP

Phoenix has won the first two games with the Spurs this season and has defeated San Antonio eight straight times dating back to May 2021.

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The Spurs (20-58) head to Phoenix after a rousing 142-134 overtime win in Sacramento on Sunday that snapped a six-game losing streak. San Antonio got a combined 56 points from reserves Doug McDermott (season-best 30 points) and Julian Champagnie (career-high 26 points).

Nine of McDermott’s points came in the extra period in which the Spurs never trailed, while Champagnie scored 22 of his points before halftime.

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San Antonio also got a triple-double from Tre Jones (17 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) in the win, a double-double from Dominick Barlow (12 points, 10 rebounds), 16 points from Zach Collins, 15 from Malaki Branham and 13 from Keita Bates-Diop.

“I think it’s the defensive end, really,” Jones said. “That’s the main thing for us. We came out in overtime and they scored right away but then we were able to string a few stops together. We were able to get some stops in the middle of it all and that really helped us.”

San Antonio was without Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan and Keldon Johnson due to injuries.

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“It was a great night for us,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We had a lot of guys play really well. We had career games by three or four guys. I’m just happy for them. They have been busting their butts all year. We don’t have many wins.”

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TAGS: Phoenix Suns

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