Suns Notes: Durant, Irving, Booker, Roster Depth

Playing his first close game since joining the Suns, Kevin Durant provided a reminder of what a dangerous clutch-time scorer he can be, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Durant had 37 points in Sunday’s win at Dallas and hit a tough jumper over Tim Hardaway Jr. with 12.4 seconds remaining that proved to be the game-winner.

“Once I had him on my hip, I felt like I was in good position to just stop on a dime,” Durant said. “Glad I made it.”

In just his third game since returning from an MCL sprain, Durant was supposed to be on a minutes restriction. However, coach Monty Williams allowed him to stay on the court for 40 minutes as the game remained close throughout.

“I was out there for a while,” Durant said. “I didn’t look over to (Williams) on purpose. I wanted to keep playing, but I’m glad he trusted me out there. Glad the training staff trusted me. Hopefully we can build on this from here.”

There’s more on the Suns:

  • There was drama surrounding Sunday’s game because it marked the first meeting between Durant and Kyrie Irving since they both asked the Nets for a trade last month. But Durant said afterward that he had “no emotions at all,” noting that he played against Irving many times before they teamed up in Brooklyn, Rankin adds. In an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” Monday morning (video link), Brian Windhorst observed that Durant and Irving didn’t interact at all during the game, adding, “The only relationship they have right now is zero relationship.”
  • The Suns’ rivalry with the Mavericks was punctuated by a verbal altercation between Devin Booker and Luka Doncic late in Sunday’s game, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. After Doncic missed a floater in the final seconds that would have tied the score, he took exception to a comment from Booker and they went nose to nose before being separated. “You guys say you don’t want everybody to be friendly-friendly,” Booker told reporters. “Here you go. We got some smoke.”
  • The Suns are considered to be among the favorites in the West after adding Durant, but they’ll need to overcome a lack of depth after giving up important rotation pieces in the trade with Brooklyn, Windhorst writes in an ESPN story. He notes that Josh Okogie, who has been inserted into the starting lineup, missed all eight of his three-point attempts Sunday, while Torrey Craig was just 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.
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