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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Mar 21, 2024 6:43 am

After latest milestone, Kevin Durant leads Suns vs. Hawks

Durant, Suns

Kevin Durant continues to rack up accomplishments, and the end of his career is nowhere in sight.

Durant will show up to the arena as the eighth-leading scorer in NBA history when the Phoenix Suns host the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

Durant scored 22 points in Phoenix’s 115-102 home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday to pass Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Durant’s total sits at 28,610.

“Teammates throughout my whole career have encouraged me and inspired me along the way,” Durant said postgame. “So I’m nothing without those people and grateful I get to experience this in my lifetime.”

Durant, 35, doesn’t pinpoint how much longer he plans to play, but he is less than 3,000 points behind seventh-place Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

With his career going strong, Durant said he doesn’t get a chance to reflect on some of the names he has passed in recent years.

“I’m still playing. I want to do a lot more in this game, so it’s kinda hard to sit back and bask in the glory a little bit,” Durant said. “I’m glad I was able to do this with a Suns jersey on.”

Durant certainly had some help during the Wednesday victory. Grayson Allen matched the franchise record of nine 3-pointers for the third time this season while equaling his season high of 32 points.

“I got a lot of good looks off my teammates,” Allen said. “The ball kept finding me, and I just continued to let it fly.”

Allen has made 42 of 75 3-point attempts (56 percent) over the past eight games. He has made eight or more three times during the stretch.

Phoenix (40-29) has won five of its past eight games but isn’t in a top-six playoff position at the moment. The Suns and Dallas Mavericks (40-29) are both a half-game behind the No. 6 Sacramento Kings (40-28) in the Western Conference race.

Atlanta (30-38) is in possession of the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks are 1-3 entering the finale of a five-game road trip. Fortunately for them, they have had a few days to recuperate since being torched 136-105 by the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

LeBron James (27 points, 10 assists) and Anthony Davis (22 points, 15 rebounds, six assists) each made 10 of 14 field-goal attempts as the Lakers shot 57.8 percent as a team.

“I thought we were ready to play, (but) there’s two Hall of Fame players that were unselfish, and I thought they played really well,” Atlanta coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s hard to sustain a defensive effort against a team that’s playing the way they are offensively. When the ball isn’t going in, it’s even harder. They made us pay for any mistake we made.”

Atlanta’s Jalen Johnson had 25 points and nine rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter with his second right ankle injury of the month. Johnson will sit out against the Suns.

Johnson also hurt the ankle on March 6 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and missed the following three games.

Atlanta continues to play without Trae Young. The star guard will miss his 13th consecutive game since undergoing hand surgery.

The Hawks did get big man Onyeka Okongwu (sprained toe) back from a 13-game absence. Okongwu had 11 points and four rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench against the Lakers

Atlanta has won its past four games against the Suns, including a 129-120 home victory on Feb. 2. Young had 32 points and 15 assists for the Hawks and Durant amassed 35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Phoenix.

–Field Level Media

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