NBA

Kevin Durant will not 'make too much of' 8-0 start with Suns

By Sports Desk April 07, 2023

Kevin Durant is unmoved by his winning start to life with the Phoenix Suns, knowing there is "a whole new season about to start" in the playoffs.

The Suns won 119-115 on Thursday against a Denver Nuggets team missing Nikola Jokic and several other starters.

Phoenix, by contrast, were at full strength, with Durant starting his eighth game for the team, joining Chris Paul and Devin Booker in the lineup.

Durant is 8-0 since joining the Brooklyn Nets; the last player to move teams and win their next nine starts was Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors in 2018.

That Raptors team ended up winning the title, beating Durant's Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, and the Suns superstar's focus now is on postseason success.

"We've played a couple of teams that weren't full strength," Durant said. "I don't make too much of it.

"It's a whole new season about to start, so what we're doing right now is cool, record-wise, but we want to keep building good habits and stay healthy. That's the only thing that's important to me."

Even in victory, coach Monty Williams was frustrated by an "inconsistent" performance, while Paul called it a "weird" game.

The veteran point guard had a key role to play in the win, however, making a career-high seven threes.

"I should have made more," Paul said. "I was just trying to take those shots.

"That's why these games are important: it's a new way – I've never really played with guys who are getting doubled like this.

"It's not just [a case of] wait until the playoffs and find our rhythm; you need to use these games to do that."

At the same time, Paul, averaging 8.9 assists per game this year, finished with only two assists.

Only once this season had Paul previously played more than 15 minutes and finished with as few as two assists, losing by 19 points to the New York Knicks in February.

It was the seventh time in his career he has played at least 15 minutes in a win and not contributed three or more assists.

"I'm not used to it, but it's one of those things where guys are telling me to shoot, telling me to shoot, and I just said 'alright'," Paul said.

"It is weird, but it's whatever it takes. If that means scoring, if that means assisting, I've got to shoot to keep them honest."

Durant added: "We're used to him getting nearly double-digit assists every game, but it's good when you're unpredictable and can switch attacks. We're going to need that going forward."

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