NBA: Durant scores 44 in triumphant Thunder return

Kevin Durant scored 44 points on Wednesday in his return after missing six games, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder over visiting Phoenix 137-134 in overtime. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Kevin Durant scored 44 points on Wednesday in his return after missing six games, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder over visiting Phoenix 137-134 in overtime. -- PHOTO: AFP 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AFP) - Reigning National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant scored 44 points on Wednesday in his return after missing six games, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder over visiting Phoenix 137-134 in overtime.

Durant had been sidelined by a sprained right ankle suffered in a loss two weeks ago at Golden State.

The superstar playmaker missed the Thunder's first 17 games of the season following surgery on his right foot, but Oklahoma have gone 8-2 with Durant in the line-up and improved to 16-17 this season with the victory.

Durant, who also contributed a game-high 10 rebounds and team-best seven assists, connected on 13-of-23 shots from the field, including 6-of-11 from three-point range, and made all 12 of his free-throw attempts, four of them in overtime.

Russell Westbrook added 20 points and Serge Ibaka added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder.

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 29 points and a game-high eight assists, while Markieff Morris added 25 points for Phoenix, who fell to 18-16.