Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Sports Gaming Monitor

NBA Preview: Phoenix Suns (33-29) at Charlotte Hornets (20-43)

Kevin Durant is expected to make his Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets on the road.

Since spraining his MCL on Jan. 8, Durant, who Phoenix acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline, has not played. Durant’s participation in the Suns’ current four-game road trip with the team was confirmed by the team on Tuesday.

Before suffering his injury, the 13-time NBA All-Star and two-time Finals MVP was averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists across 39 games.

After winning five of its previous six games, Phoenix has lost two of those games. It lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 104-101 on Sunday to kick off its road trip.

After returning from a five-week absence as a result of a groin injury, Devin Booker scored more than 20 points in four of the six games he played in February. Phoenix has averaged 18.5 points per game over the last six games thanks to Josh Okogie.

Phoenix’s forward T.J. Warren, who was acquired in exchange for Durant, has not played in the past two games. When Durant changes into his uniform, playing time may become more difficult.

During their five-game winning streak, the Hornets have been flying high, but now they will have to deal with a lineup change during their best stretch of the season.

LaMelo Ball, the point guard, is out with a broken right ankle from Monday night.

Ball left the game after suffering a non-contact injury in the third quarter of a 117-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons. He had scored 18 points on six 3-pointers. When it was later revealed that he had suffered a fracture, the medical results seemed to catch everyone off guard.

Dennis Smith Jr. is likely to be added to the Hornets’ starting point guard position. Monday night, Smith had seven assists, which was a team high.

Ball, who has been injured for nearly half of the team’s games, scores an average of 23.3 points per game, leading the team.

The Hornets’ backcourt partner Terry Rozier, who averages 21.4 points per game, ranks second only to Ball.

The Suns defeated Charlotte 128-97 at home on January 24.

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