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Kevin Durant returns to Suns' lineup vs. Wolves

Phoenix's standout forward, who scored 16 points Wednesday, had missed the 10 games prior due to a sprained ankle.

Kevin Durant finally nails his 1st bucket in front of the home fans.

Phoenix Suns star forward Kevin Durant made his return to the lineup Wednesday, scoring 16 points in a long-awaited home debut.

Durant missed his first six shots before converting a fadeaway from the left side just after halftime. He finished shooting 5-for-18 (and 2-for-4 on 3-pointers), adding eight rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes.

After a huge ovation from the sellout crowd — which waited more than a month to see him play a game in Phoenix after his trade from Brooklyn — Durant missed his first six shots and finished 5 of 18 from the field, though he did hit a couple important 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter.

“It was hard for me to get sleep today, it was hard for me to stop thinking about the game,” Durant said. “Sometimes you can want it too bad and you come out, start rushing and being uncharacteristic.”

“I’m glad I’m back, I’m glad I’m playing again and being one of the guys. Just building from here.”

Durant had missed the team’s last 10 games with an ankle injury he suffered in pregame warmups before a March 8 home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. At the time he got hurt, the Suns put Durant’s timeline for return at a minimum of three weeks, which is exactly what it was as he suited up vs. Minnesota.

The Suns went 4-6 during Durant’s absence and are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference.

Game Recap: Suns 107, Timberwolves 100

The Suns and Wolves are in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race, fighting to stay in the top six so they don’t fall to the play-in tournament. Every game is crucial at this point — just three wins separated the Nos. 4-11 spots entering Wednesday’s games.

The Suns took an 81-74 lead into the fourth quarter and held on in the final minutes.

Durant changed his shoes at halftime, hoping for some better mojo.

“I thought he battled on both ends,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “I think his cardio has got to get back to the level he wants it. Once he gets that, we’ll see the Kevin that we all know.”

Durant had played in just three games — all on the road — since coming to the Suns in a blockbuster trade deadline deal that sent Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and other draft compensation to the Brooklyn Nets.

The 13-time All-Star slipped on the floor during pregame warmups while getting ready for the team’s game against OKC in what was supposed to be his home debut.

Video showed Durant driving to the basket during warmups when he rolled his left ankle as he jumped. He immediately hopped up and continued his pregame work, but several minutes later, the Suns confirmed that Durant would miss the game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.