The Mercury News

Durant scores 23 in debut for Suns, who beat Hornets


New team, same Kevin Durant.

The Durant era in Phoenix got off to solid start Wednesday night with the 13-time NBA All-Star scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting, adding an explosive offensive element to an already dangerous offense in his Suns debut.

Durant, playing for his fourth team in the past seven seasons, added six rebounds and two blocks as Phoenix beat the host Charlotte Hornets 105-91.

“I've played in almost a thousand basketball games, but today I was nervous,” Durant said. “It's a new team, new group, and I want to play hard for them and be coachable. So, I was thinking about all that today.”

Devin Booker seemed to feed off Durant, scoring 37 points in the win.

Coming off a knee injury that has kept him out of action since Jan. 8, Durant was limited to 27 minutes while on a playingtim­e restrictio­n. The 13time All-Star was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuste­r deal in which the Suns parted ways with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four first-round picks.

The Hornets played without LaMelo Ball, who underwent season-ending surgery on Wednesday to repair a fracture in his right ankle. Kelly Oubre Jr. picked up the scoring slack with 26 points for Charlotte.

76ERS 119, HEAT 96 >> Tyrese Maxey scored 27 points, James Harden added 23 and visiting Philadelph­ia took control early. Tobias Harris scored 18 points, while Paul Reed had 16 points, 14 rebounds and was plus-26 in 29 minutes for the 76ers, who played without All-Star center Joel Embiid — out with left foot soreness. Bam Adebayo scored 20 for Miami, which beat Philadelph­ia on the road Monday but trailed by as many as 25 in the rematch at home.

KNICKS 142, NETS 118 >> Jalen Brunson scored 30 of his 39 points in the first half and host New York rolled to its seventh straight victory. The Knicks made nearly 80% of their shots in a 47-point first quarter. Quentin Grimes scored 22 points and Julius Randle added 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Knicks opened a two-game lead over the Nets for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Cameron Johnson led Brooklyn with 33 points.

CELTICS 117, CAVALIERS 113 >> Jayson Tatum scored 18 points in a pivotal third quarter and finished with 41 points as host Boston held on to beat Cleveland. Tatum added 11 rebounds and eight assist. Donovan Mitchell scored 44 points for Cleveland.

BULLS 117, PISTONS 115 >> Zach LaVine scored 41 points and Detroit called one too many timeouts, helping visiting Chicago. The Pistons were trailing by two points with 9.7 seconds left when they called a second straight timeout — one more than they had — to trigger a technical foul that gave LaVine a free throw that he made. DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points for the Bulls. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 34 points for Detroit.

 ?? CHRIS CARLSON — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Phoenix forward Kevin Durant, driving to the basket Wednesday, scored 23 points in his debut with the Suns.
CHRIS CARLSON — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Phoenix forward Kevin Durant, driving to the basket Wednesday, scored 23 points in his debut with the Suns.

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