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Kevin Durant back in Brooklyn as Suns search for 2nd straight win: Suns at Nets preview and prediction

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The Phoenix Suns (27-20, 6th in Western Conference) play their fifth matchup of a seven-game road trip tonight against the Brooklyn Nets (19-27, 11th in Eastern Conference) in the teams’ second meeting this season. The big storyline for tonight is Kevin Durant returning to Brooklyn for the first time since being traded to the Suns on Feb. 8, 2023.

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In the last meeting between these two teams on Dec. 13, the Nets defeated the Suns 116-112 in the debut of Phoenix’s Big 3. Tonight in stark contrast, the Suns’ Big 3 will have officially played in more games than the Nets’ Big 3 of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden did in their time in Brooklyn. Devin Booker had 34 in the loss, while Mikal Bridges had 21 in his return to Phoenix.

The Suns will look to build off their commanding 118-105 victory over the Miami Heat Monday night, as they played a very balanced game offensively with six players scoring in double figures and had a season-high 48 bench points. This win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Suns.

The Nets have won two straight after crushing the Utah Jazz 147-114 Monday night behind 33 points from Bridges. However, they have still lost seven of their last 10 games.

Grayson Allen will miss tonight’s matchup after suffering a right ankle sprain against the Heat. Allen was originally a game-time decision.

For the Nets, Ben Simmons (left knee contusion) and Dorian Finney-Smith (left ankle sprain) highlight the inactive list.

Local Game Information

Start Time: 6:30 p.m. MST

Location: Barclays Center

TV Channel: 3TV/AZ Family, ABC

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, La Mejor 106.5 FM

Stream: Suns Live (click for more info)

Betting Odds

Line: PHX -3.5

O/U: 232.5

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns: Grayson Allen (right ankle sprain) OUT | Bol Bol (right foot sprain) WILL DRESS | Bradley Beal (nasal fracture) AVAILABLE | Damion Lee (right meniscus surgery) OUT

Brooklyn Nets: Ben Simmons (left knee contusion) OUT | Dorian Finney-Smith (left ankle sprain) OUT | Day’Ron Sharpe (left knee hyperextension) OUT | Dariq Whitehead (left shin stress reaction) OUT

Starters (Projected)

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

Brooklyn NetsSpencer Dinwiddie, Cam Thomas, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Nic Claxton

Five Keys to Game for Suns

  1. Another all-around team effort
  2. 3-point shooting
  3. Low turnovers
  4. Slowing down Mikal Bridges
  5. Dealing with other team’s length

Prediction

Suns 120 – Nets 105

The Suns looked like they finally found a good formula for winning Monday night, granted the Heat have been really struggling lately and Phoenix did not put together good fourth quarter. Phoenix’ ability to not turn the ball over and get contributions from everyone up and down the lineup should make the team realize they can bring this kind of effort every night. However, the Suns have struggled some longer teams, including in the first matchup against Brooklyn, so this is where things could go wrong for them. I predict Kevin Durant to score 30-plus points in his return and for Phoenix to carry over the effort it showed Monday against a short-handed Nets team.

Flashback: Last Meeting (Dec. 13, 2023)

Brooklyn Nets spoil Suns’ big three debut

Team Matchup Notes

Here are some stats, notes and everything else to know about the Suns and Nets before their second matchup of the season (via Suns):

Each team’s stats (via Suns):

Preview: Kevin Durant’s return to Brooklyn

Kevin Durant unsure of reception he’ll receive in Brooklyn

Kevin Durant says he doesn’t want tribute video from Nets

Preview: Team injury reports

Updates on the statuses Grayson Allen and Bol Bol for tonight’s game vs. Nets

Ben Simmons Downgraded to Out for Nets vs. Suns

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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