128-119. Durant returns through the big door and the Nets consolidate their leadership

New York, Apr 25 (EFE) .- All-Star forward Kevin Durant contributed 33 decisive points this Sunday for the Brooklyn Nets victory by 128-119 over the Phoenix Suns.

Durant was fully recovered from his recent muscle injury and together with point guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 34 points, they made the difference in favor of the New York team.

The star forward missed three games after injuring his left thigh early in the game the Nets lost to the Miami Heat on Sunday and has been limited to just 25 games this season.

Against the Suns, he played 28 minutes as a reserve on his return, and made 12 of 21 shots from the field, in addition to capturing six rebounds, distributing four assists, recovering two balls and putting a block.

Power forward Blake Griffin scored 15 points to help the Eastern Conference leaders improve to 25-7 at home and 20-6 against Western teams.

Another something man, the center DeAndre Jordan emerged as the best in the Nets’ inside game when he started and contributed 12 rebounds, put a block and scored six points, with 3 of 4 shots from the field.

The Nets (41-20) are consolidated with the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division, a game and a half ahead of the Philadelphia Sixers (39-21), who occupy the second place.

Hispanic guard Devin Booker scored 36 points, including four triples from five attempts, which put him in front of the attack of the Suns (42-18), who lost the second consecutive game away from their field.

Bahamian center Deandre Ayton was once again the best of the Suns in the inside game with 20 points and 13 rebounds that did not prevent defeat either.

While veteran point guard Chris Paul this time could not be a winning factor with the Suns by staying with 14 points, he distributed eight assists and lost six balls.

The Suns led for much of the first half, but Brooklyn walked away after halftime, when Durant played his normal minutes.

Durant didn’t enter the game until four minutes into the second period so the Nets could keep them down and then be down the stretch if the score was even.

The Nets were 2-2 while playing almost entirely without Durant in their previous four games, but things turn around when the four-time league scoring champion is on the floor.

Durant scored 10 points in the third quarter, then had the first five of the quarter to give Brooklyn its first double-digit lead by making it 102-92.

With Ayton scoring 10 points and 10 rebounds in his first 14 minutes of action, the Suns led throughout the second quarter and led 43-56 with approximately 3 1/2 minutes to go until Brooklyn reduced the deficit to a partial 59. -61 at halftime.

Irving was just 4-of-19 on Friday against Boston, but he made his first four shots Sunday and was always effective on the attack. He scored 24 points on just seven field goals in the first half, tying his highest-scoring half of the season, and finished with a double-double with 12 assists.

Despite the loss, the Suns are now practically assured of a place in the playoffs, something they have not achieved since the 2010 season when they had former Canadian base Steve Nash, current Nets coach, as their star player.

(c) EFE Agency

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