The Phoenix Suns defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-109 on Sunday night, thanks to a clutch defensive play by Kevin Durant in the final seconds of the game.
The Suns were leading by three points with 10.4 seconds left, when the Thunder inbounded the ball to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who drove past Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges to the rim.
However, Durant came from behind and blocked Gilgeous-Alexander’s layup attempt, securing the win for the Suns.
Durant finished with 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks, while Booker had 27 points and six assists for the Suns. Chris Paul added 18 points and 12 assists, and Deandre Ayton had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Suns improved to 51-21, clinching the second seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Thunder dropped to 21-51, losing their seventh straight game and their 24th in their last 26 games.
Durant’s chase-down block was reminiscent of his former teammate LeBron James’ iconic block on Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, when James helped the Cleveland Cavaliers overcome a 3-1 deficit and win their first championship.
Durant said he was inspired by James’ play and wanted to make a similar impact for his team.
“I’ve seen LeBron do that plenty of times,” Durant said. “I just wanted to be there for my teammates and make a winning play. I knew Shai was fast and crafty, so I had to time it right. It felt good to get that block and seal the game.”
Durant also praised his teammates for their resilience and chemistry throughout the season, especially after he missed two months with a hamstring injury.
“We’ve been through a lot this season, with injuries, COVID protocols, trades, everything,” Durant said. “But we never gave up on each other. We always stayed together and trusted each other.
We have a great group of guys who love to play basketball and love to compete. We’re ready for the playoffs.”
The Suns will face the seventh seed in the first round of the playoffs, which will be determined by the play-in tournament. The Thunder will have a high chance of landing a top pick in the draft lottery, which will be held on June 22.
Final Thoughts: Kevin Durant’s Clutch Block Helps Suns Secure Second Seed in West
The Phoenix Suns’ victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night was highlighted by a clutch defensive play by Kevin Durant in the final seconds of the game.
With the Suns leading by three points, the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drove past two Suns defenders to attempt a game-tying layup, but Durant came from behind and swatted the ball away, securing the win for the Suns.
Durant’s chase-down block was reminiscent of LeBron James’ iconic block in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, and Durant himself acknowledged the inspiration that he drew from James’ play. But while the comparison is apt, it is also a testament to Durant’s own greatness as a player.
In the 2020-21 season, Durant has shown that he is still one of the NBA’s elite players, even after missing significant time due to injury. He has been a dominant scorer, an efficient shooter, and a versatile defender, and he has played a key role in the Suns’ success this season.
With the win, the Suns secured the second seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The team’s success is a testament to the leadership of Chris Paul, the emergence of Devin Booker as a star player, and the contributions of role players like Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton.
But it is also a testament to the resilience and chemistry of the entire team, which has overcome injuries, COVID protocols, and other challenges to emerge as one of the best teams in the NBA.
And with Durant playing at such a high level, the Suns are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs and compete for a championship.
In conclusion, Kevin Durant’s clutch block helped the Suns secure the second seed in the Western Conference and is a testament to his own greatness as a player. The Suns’ success is a testament to the leadership, talent, and resilience of the entire team, and they are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.