It was a small sample, but the Phoenix Suns looked dominant in the three games Kevin Durant played with the team following his trade from Brooklyn and recovery from a leg injury before Durant went down again, this time with a left ankle issue on March 8. The future Hall of Famer will return to the lineup Wednesday to make his Suns home debut against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. Durant has been given an Over/Under of 22.5 points.
In three games with the Suns, Durant is averaging 26.7 points on absurd 69.0% shooting overall and 53.8% from deep (neither is sustainable) along with 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 32.7 minutes per game. Phoenix won in Charlotte, Chicago and Dallas with Durant, but then he injured his ankle on a wet court during pregame warmups in Oklahoma City and hasn't played since.
Including that OKC game, the Suns are 4-6 without Durant. With him back, the Suns will be at full strength for the first time in months. Deandre Ayton returned from a four-game injury absence Monday in a 117-103 win in Utah and had 14 points and eight rebounds. The Suns will have seven regular-season games to get in sync for the playoffs.
"It's good timing," All-Star Devin Booker said. "Playoffs are right around the corner. It's a good time to be full strength. We obviously have some kinks to work out. We can only do that by experience, playing with each other. Our first three games went really well. I'm excited to get back to that."
Booker has led the Suns in scoring in every game Durant has missed, putting up 31.7 PPG in that span. In the three with Durant, he averaged 36.0 PPG. Booker and Durant combined for 188 points in their first three games together, the most points by a pair of NBA teammates in their first three games together since 1963-64. Over the last 13 games, Booker is averaging 32.7 points on 56.5% shooting, 4.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He is set at over/under 27.5 points Wednesday.
At 40-35, Phoenix sits in fourth place in the West, which would be the final spot with home-court advantage in the first round. The Suns aren't getting any higher but could slip. Minnesota (39-37) is sixth and enters on a four-game winning streak. The Wolves just got their own star back from injury in Karl-Anthony Towns. He sat out Monday's win in Sacramento, but because it was the second game of a back-to-back. Towns will play Wednesday. Jaylen Nowell and Taurean Prince are questionable.
Minnesota snapped a six-game losing streak to Phoenix on Jan. 13 with a 121-116 home win in the most recent meeting between the clubs.
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