Playing his first official home game for the Phoenix Suns, Kevin Durant admitted that there was extreme anticipation on his part leading to the team’s Wednesday matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“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 badly and you come out there and you start rushing and start being uncharacteristic,” Durant said in his presser.
“I’m glad I’m back, I’m glad I’m playing again and being one of the guys. Just building from here.”
Durant took three more weeks of wait to finally play his home debut in front of the Suns’ fans. He notably sustained a nasty, unwanted ankle injury during his pregame warmup last Mar. 8 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As a result of his absence, Phoenix has gone 4-6 on the 10-game stretch without him. But thankfully enough, they were able to maintain their hold in the Western Conference’s fourth seed now improved to 41-35 upon snatching a gritty 107-100 victory over the visiting Wolves.
With the whole sellout crowd of Phoenix fanbase warmly cheering his first appearance in Footprint Center as a Sun, Durant still felt nervous in himself given the length of his inactivity just to recover again from his second injury this year.
Durant bricked his first six shot attempts prior to nailing a fadeaway from the left side just after the halftime buzzer sounded.
Upon switching game shoes, he proceeded to register 16 points in 29 minutes for the whole course of the evening, albeit inconsistent with a 5-for-18 shooting. Durant also had eight rebounds and four assists.
The superstar forward, who was acquired by the franchise in a blockbuster deal last trade deadline from the Brooklyn Nets, revealed that he dealt with a lot of thought processes being on the floor again.
“A couple of those shots, though, I definitely [was rushing] and trying to get it all back at once,” Durant said of his shot selections. “I can get in my own way sometimes thinking too much, trying to get those shots back. Trying to settle in as much as I can.”
Nevertheless, what mattered the most is that they were able to seal the needed victory as the playoff race in the West remains tight as it is with two weeks left into the regular season.
With Durant playing, the Suns have gone 4-0. They took the first three wins prior to Durant being sidelined due to the accidental slip in his workout.
Amid the cold night, Phoenix can only hope that situations will get even better with their newest star finally in town.
“Whole city has been waiting on this,” Devin Booker said of Durant’s return on Wednesday. “It’s a really special night. A big night in the history of the organization and the fans showed the love that was deserved.”