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Suns Finish Off Hornets in Durant Debut

© Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

After starting their four-game road trip with a loss, the Phoenix Suns did well to rebound against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

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The Suns are vying for a prominent place in the tight-knit Western Conference currently. Now with Kevin Durant making his debut against Charlotte, things certainly look easier for Phoenix.

Phoenix took control of the contest in the second quarter before Charlotte made things interesting halfway through the third quarter.

It was the Suns’ night to rule, beating the Hornets 105-91.

The Durant Effect

Durant was seen in minor minutes compared to his normal on Wednesday. The star forward is still working his way back from a MCL sprain and will be on minutes restriction going forward.

However, his presence was able to translate to the rest of his teammates. During the first half, Phoenix shot 55 percent from the field while also posting a 122 offensive rating. Durant only played 12.5 minutes during the first half.

The 13-time All-Star was able to finish the road game with 23 points, six rebounds and two assists through 26 minutes of play. He also recorded two blocks during the first half.

Durant was also valuable on the floor even when not scoring. He had a plus-13 at the end of the game, emphasizing how defenses shift to focus on him.

Pre-Injury Booker Sighting

Devin Booker has been working his way back to form following his groin injury. The star guard has missed a hefty amount of time this season from the unfortunate dealing.

On Wednesday, Booker seemed to finally find that groove that Suns fans have certainly missed. Booker was a playmaker in the first half of play, dishing out seven assists with five coming in the first quarter.

The second half of play became surgical for the sharpshooter, as he made his way to 37 points for the game. He also grabbed six rebounds during his playing time.

Ayton Still Able to Dominate

Many pondered the thought of Durant’s addition being the regression of Deandre Ayton. That worry was slightly put to rest on Wednesday.

Durant played on minutes restriction, but it was easy to see his fit with Ayton on the floor. Ayton was still able to do his double-double damage, scoring 16 points while also grabbing 16 rebounds.

The idea of Durant, Booker, Ayton and Chris Paul performing at a high clip as they did on Wednesday can certainly catapult them into the top of the Western Conference.

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