Long an NBA superstar, Kevin Durant is turning into a super sub.
Durant came off the bench for the Brooklyn Nets to score 33 points in his latest return from injury, a 128-119 win over the Phoenix Suns.
In match-up of two of the league's top teams, Durant played 28 minutes and shot 12 for 21.
"It was a good start. Hopefully, I'll build on this game and keep going," Durant said, returning from a three-game layoff due to a left thigh issue.
Kyrie Irving scored a team-high 34 points and Blake Griffin had 15 to help the eastern conference leaders improve to 41-20.
Devin Booker led all scorers with 36 points and Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost consecutive games for the first time since a three-game skid in January.
"I thought we started off pretty well, they just continued to make shots," Booker said.
Phoenix led for much of the first half but Brooklyn pulled away after halftime, when Durant played his normal minutes after not coming into the game until the second quarter.
The Suns are second in the west with a 42-18 record, behind only the league best Utah Jazz - who became the first team to lock secure a post-season berth despite not being in action on Sunday.
Phoenix are poised to seal their first play-offs tilt since 2010 - when Nets coach Steve Nash was their point guard.
"They're clearly one of the best teams in the league and have just had an incredible season start to finish," Nash said.
"So really admire what everyone over there has done, but I'm just happy to see the Suns back in prominence and fighting for a contending position in the playoffs."
Four 3-pointers from Lou Williams in the final seven minutes, including a jumper that gave the Atlanta Hawks their first lead of the second half, drove them to a 111-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
"It felt like we were in a little bit of mud in the second half," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Washington Wizards made it eight wins in a row by rallying in the final quarter to get past the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-110 while Stephen Curry poured in 37 points in the Golden State Warriors' 117-113 win over the Sacramento Kings.