The Phoenix Suns got bounced from the NBA playoffs on Thursday night following a 125-100 blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets.
In an elimination Game 6 with the season on the line, Kevin Durant came up short. After missing his first four shots in the first quarter the 34-year-old went on to finish with 23 points on 8-of-19 shooting.
Durant wasn’t awful on the night, but he also didn’t produce the sort of superstar performance that the Suns needed from him in order to salvage their 2022-23 NBA campaign.
One person who seemed to revel a bit in Durant’s misery was Dwight Howard.
Following the game, he sent out something of a polarizing tweet:
Taiwan calling 👀
— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) May 12, 2023
It didn’t take long for fans to make the obvious connection.
Phoenix had just gotten eliminated from the playoffs, and Durant’s shortcomings proved to be a big reason why.
“KD lob to Howard! Sharks up by 50!”
— Jeff Van Gundy’s Burner (@JeffVanGundysB1) May 12, 2023
LMFAOOOOO @KDTrey5 he talm bout u gang
— ໍ (@supszns) May 12, 2023
@KDTrey5 he forgot to tag you
— Spirit (@SPlRlTT) May 12, 2023
I actually just got a call from Jiangsu!!!! I think they meant to call Kevin Durant! pic.twitter.com/1hcCj058ml
— Jamaal Williams Fan (@LeTrigga) May 12, 2023
Given what a hater Durant was towards NBA Dunk Contest champ Mac McClung, it’s hard not to feel like this is a little bit of karmic justice.
Big picture, it’s not that hard to see what happened with Phoenix towards the end of the season. The Durant acquisition rid that squad of all its depth.
It led to Durant and Devin Booker averaging 42 minutes per outing throughout the playoffs. That would tax anyone physically. In Game 6, when it mattered most, the pair went 12-of-32 from the field.
In hindsight, the amount of trouble that a Los Angeles Clippers squad with no Kawhi Leonard or Paul George gave the Suns should have been an early red flag.
The viral Phillies fan has been identified. https://t.co/GPYrp9X5ki
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 12, 2023
It’s not all bad news for Durant, though. This year’s playoffs saw him settle his beef with arguably his biggest rival. At least he can take solace in that. And if they can make peace, maybe one day he and Howard will as well.
As for Howard, he seems to be in good spirits and enjoying China at the moment. Will he ultimately face any blowback for this apparent Durant trolling? An answer one way or the other will emerge soon enough.