Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant believes his team has a bright future ahead, following Thursday night’s 125-100 Game 6 blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Denver went on a 23-2 run late in the first quarter to take a 44-26 lead.
The Suns went on to trail by 30 points at halftime and lose by double digits. “It sucked,” said the 13-time All-Star. “It was a bad feeling. Embarrassing.” Durant’s midseason trade from the Brooklyn Nets to Phoenix made the Suns the odds-on favorite to win the Western Conference.
According to a few NBA betting sites, now that the Suns have been eliminated from the playoffs, sportsbooks show the Golden State Warriors with fourth-shortest odds to win the championship.
“I always knew how great he was…I wasn’t surprised at all…he’ll go down as one of the all-time great centers that ever touched a basketball”
Kevin Durant on Nikola Jokic pic.twitter.com/vmwqNL53Cw
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 12, 2023
“We just got to be better next year,” Kevin Durant said. “It’s hard right now to see what the future will hold for our team, but we got a good foundation, good infrastructure. We can build on and move on from this and learn from it and get better from it. I’m sure as the summer and offseason starts, we’ll figure that out a little bit more.”
Durant ended his Game 6 performance with 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, and one block in 37 minutes of action. He finished 8-of-19 (42.1%) shooting from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 (100%) at the foul line. The 15-year veteran ended his postseason run averaging 29 points, 8.7 boards, 5.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks through 11 games.
Suns superstar Kevin Durant says 25-point playoff loss to Nuggets ‘sucked’ and felt ’embarrassing’ on home court
Phoenix became the third team in NBA history to be eliminated from the playoffs in consecutive seasons with losses by 25 or more points. Suns fans were heard booing their team at Footprint Center as Denver led 81-51 at halftime. The Nuggets’ 81 points are the most in a first half by a road team in postseason history.
Furthermore, this defeat was déjà vu for the Suns. In Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, Phoenix trailed 57-27 at halftime against the Dallas Mavericks, another 30-point first-half deficit. The Suns lost 123-90 on their home court as a 6.5-point favorite.
Kevin Durant has been at his best when facing elimination. Durant is averaging 30.2 PPG in his career when facing elimination, 4th-highest in NBA history (min. 10 games). pic.twitter.com/jUHRucpUSv
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 12, 2023
“It was deflating to see them score like that and running down the floor getting easy buckets,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That falls on my shoulders not having us ready to play at the highest level in the biggest game of the year.”
Before Game 6, Kevin Durant was averaging 30.2 points per game in his career when facing elimination, the fourth-highest PPG average in NBA history, trailing LeBron James (33.5), Michael Jordan (31.3), and Wilt Chamberlain (31.1). However, the Suns still have next year to improve with the two-time MVP.