Phoenix Suns vs. Brooklyn Nets Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 13th 2023

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The anticipation of Kevin Durant facing the Brooklyn Nets for the first time since his trade to the Phoenix Suns last February has dimmed, with his availability uncertain for the occasion.

Durant has missed the past two games with a sprained left ankle, and whether he can play may not be known until close to tip-off when the Nets and host Suns square off Wednesday night.

After testing the ankle Tuesday, Durant was ruled out of the Suns’ 119-116 home win against the Golden State Warriors.

Suns coach Frank Vogel simply said Durant wasn’t ready to play. He is in wait-and-see mode for Wednesday’s game.

“Possibly on KD,” Vogel said of Durant playing. “We’ll see where his ankle is.”

Wednesday’s contest has received plenty of advance hype over Durant’s return to potentially face the Nets, a franchise he soured on last season before the trade to the Suns. He was supposed to be part of a ‘Big Three’ dynasty in Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving and James Harden — the experiment failed miserably.

“Yeah, it just wasn’t no consistency, no continuity on who we were as a team,” Durant recently told The New York Post. “When you want to win a championship, you’ve got to build an identity from Day 1, and it was just a lot of circumstances that were out of the players’ control that got in the way of us building our continuity.”

Durant played in just 129 games in 3 1/2 seasons with the Nets. He missed the 2019-20 season due to an Achilles tear sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals with the Warriors, and he didn’t play in more than 55 games during either of the two ensuing seasons.

The Suns viewed Durant as a vital piece in their NBA championship aspirations. They gave up young forwards Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson as part of the package.

Bridges is averaging 23.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 22 games this season and may receive All-Star consideration. Johnson is averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15 games.

Both players are looking forward to playing in Phoenix for the first time since the trade. Bridges played 4 1/2 seasons with the Suns and Johnson played 3 1/2.

“Yeah, excited. Just a lot of years there, a lot of friends there,” Bridges told the Post. “A lot of fans through the whole journey. It’s going to be exciting.”

Johnson told The Post: “I’m excited. It’s appreciation you gain for a city and for the fans when you play there for a while. And as crazy as it is, you don’t know. That last game I played there, I didn’t know it’d be my last game in a Suns uniform. So it’ll be fun.”

Brooklyn has won six of its past eight games despite falling 131-118 to the Sacramento Kings on Monday in the opener of a five-game road trip.

Bridges scored 22 points and has topped 20 in six straight contests.

The Nets allowed Sacramento to make a franchise-best 25 3-pointers.

As for the Suns, Tuesday figured to be the first time Phoenix’s ‘Big Three’ of Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal played in the same game after Beal (back) was cleared to play following a 12-game absence. But Durant’s injury thwarted that notion.

Beal, playing for the first time since Nov. 12, had 16 points in 27 minutes against the Warriors.

“He needs to learn his teammates and where they’re going to be, but I’m very excited to have him out there,” Vogel said.

Suns guard Josh Okogie injured his hip and is unlikely to play Wednesday. Guard Grayson Allen (groin) will miss his third straight game.

Phoenix has beaten Brooklyn four straight times.

–Field Level Media

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