NBA: Kevin Durant outplays Kyrie Irving as Suns beat Mavericks; Curry returns for Warriors

by Jacob Fuller

Rob Issa, FISM News

Kevin Durant outplayed Kyrie Irving to lead his new team to a victory over his old teammate in the first matchup between the two NBA superstars since both were traded by the Brooklyn Nets last month.

Durant scored 37 points, including a tiebreaking jumper, and the Phoenix Suns beat Irving and the Dallas Mavericks 130-126 on Sunday.

The Suns have won all three games Durant has played while the Mavericks are 3-6 since Irving joined the team. Irving’s trade demand paved the way for Durant to also leave Brooklyn.

The score was tied at 126 when Durant pulled up and hit a jumper over Tim Hardaway Jr. before Irving could move over defensively to double him.

“Nobody’s ever going to retreat when they guard me,” Durant said. “So sometimes I’ve got to veer off instead of straight-line driving it. I felt like I had a good handle on the ball. Once I had it on my hip I felt like I was in good position to stop on a dime.”

Irving finished with 30 points for the Mavericks, who were led by Luka Doncic. Despite playing with a thigh injury, Doncic had 34 points.

Devin Booker had 36 for the Suns, who were knocked out of the playoffs last year by the Mavericks in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.

The rivalry was evident as Booker and Doncic exchanged words after Doncic missed a 4-footer that would’ve tied the game after Durant’s shot.

“You guys say you don’t want everybody to be friendly-friendly,” Booker said. “Here you go. We got some smoke.”

The Suns and Mavericks could be headed for another playoff showdown in a competitive West. Phoenix currently sits in fourth place, 3 1/2 games behind Memphis for second. Dallas is seventh but only two games behind the Suns.

“I mean, they’re incredible,” Doncic said of the Suns. “Those two guys are one of the best (duos) in the league, Book and KD. But I love it. It’s competitive. I think today was a great game to watch.”


The defending champion Golden State Warriors welcomed back Stephen Curry on Sunday but lost 113-105 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Curry scored 27 points in his first game back after missing 11 with a left leg injury.

The Warriors had won five in a row and are fifth in the West.

“He looked great. He is who he is. He strikes fear in opponents and opens up a lot of things for his teammates,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry.

The 2022 NBA Finals MVP played 32 minutes as he gets back into form after missing a month.

“I felt like I got stronger as the game goes on,” Curry said. “It felt great to get thrown back in there right away. It was a little sluggish as far as the sharpness of skills early on, but then you start to feel the spirit of the game. If I get better as the game goes on, that’s always a great sign for me individually.”


On Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers snapped Milwaukee’s 16-game winning streak with a 133-130 win on the road.

Joel Embiid hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 41.4 seconds left and the Sixers made all six free throws afterward to seal the victory. Embiid finished with 31 points and 10 assists and James Harden had 38 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.

“I missed a lot of easy shots I usually make,” Embiid said, unhappy with his overall performance.

But he was clutch when Philly needed him most.

“I had to make it, being down one at that point,” Embiid said. “I had to do it.”

The Bucks had the longest winning streak in the NBA since the Suns won 18 in a row early last season.

“They went wherever they wanted to go, scoring from the paint, floaters, isos, offensive rebounds, free throws, 3s,” Bucks two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “You name it. They were able to get everything. We’ve got to be able to play 48 minutes of good basketball, [and] defend for 48 minutes. This is a good lesson for us.”