Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 10:55 am  |  64 responses

LeBron James to Face Kevin Durant in Dream NBA Finals

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

The two best players in the League are going to duel it out for the ultimate prize, starting tomorrow night in OKC. Kevin Durant and the Thunder are awaiting LeBron James’ Miami Heat, on the sport’s biggest stage.

And both superstars – who famously worked out together in the offseason, on and off the basketball court – say they’re ready to fully embrace the challenge.

From the AP:

“It’s only right. It’s only right,” James said. “We look forward to the challenge. It’s going to be a big test for us.”

James played at a rarely seen level in the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. James is the first player since Shaquille O’Neal in the 2000 finals to have six 30-point games in a playoff series. In the one contest where James didn’t score 30, he finished with 29 in Game 4, fouling out in overtime. “He was absolutely brilliant this series, and we all know it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Criticized last season for deferring too often in crucial situations, James went into the offseason driven by the pain of failing in the NBA finals. In the [workout[ sessions with Durant, they pushed each other to the limit. ‘Me and KD, man, just tryin’ to get better,’ James said … ‘I envisioned it every day we worked out,’ James said. ‘I understood what his passion was. I understood what his drive was.’

“It’s going to be a battle,” Durant said. The Heat and Thunder split two games during the regular season, both winning at home. Durant scored the most points in the NBA this season at 1,850, James was second with 1,683. James won the MVP award, Durant finished second.

The winner of this NBA Finals won’t be determined by who wins the matchup between LBJ and KD – those two are more than likely to cancel each other out – but by who else steps up on either side.

However, let’s not kid ourselves. In terms of storylines, this all about Kevin Durant and LeBron James, arguably the most riveting superstar showdown for the championship since Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson in 1991.

Not too bad a finish to a season that was nearly wiped out by the NBA Lockout.

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  • LA Huey

    Once again, it’s the PLAYERS that make the NBA.

  • biggieman

    Miami doesn’t have enough depth to hang with the Thunder, and will have no answer for James Harden… OKC in 6.

  • http://kingakai.com Alpha-bet

    Looking coward to this matchup..hopefully it’s not as 1 sided as the Magic/Micheal one back in the day.

  • http://slamonline.com rr

    lets go mia confidence energy passion and willingness is all we need

  • http://slamonline.com rr

    i thount kobe finished second with points…..lol

  • http://slamonline.com rr

    i thougt kobe fnished second in points this season

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    Is Kevin Durant “G” enough to lead OKC to an NBA title? http://clicky.me/793y

  • http://schowell.deviantart.com Sean

    OKC In 5. Lebron cannot out perform Durrant, Harden, and Westbrook in a series.

  • http://friendhour.tumblr.com/ cramzy

    This is the rivalry the nba needs to be pushing. Forget all that Kobe/Lebron nonsense.

  • IGGI

    With Ibaka and Perkins in the paint it’s going to be though for the Heats D.Wade and harden will cancel each other too. !!!Viva the heats!!!!


    westbrook and wade cancel each other the same for lbj/kd so Bosh and Harden have to abuse there oppositions.

  • Sparker

    miami finally got the edge on boston when they figured out that they could keep taking it down the middle. that won’t work against okc. on the other hand, okc outran the spurs, and that won’t against miami. okc looks deeper and better coached, and have a major advantage with their 6th man. but miami has a big man who can stretch the floor, so okc will have to run around after him. anyone who says they can predict the outcome of this series is crazy.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Showtime

    ^ cosign every thing Sparker said except about the coach both can be dismal @ times but i think Spo gets the edge because at least he makes adjustment from time to time even thou late ,

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Cosing Sparker on everything.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Watch this be one of those series where it goes 7 games but every game is a blow out.
    I’m so fuggin excited.

  • http://slamonline.com Caboose

    Co-sign sparker. And co-sign nbk cuz we’re lovers.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    This one of the most intriguing one-on-one matchups since Jordan v. Drexler back in the day. I think Achilles from the movie “Troy” said it best – “The tale of this battle will outlive the warriors involved.”

  • Pais

    I really like OKC as the better team overall, but I wouldn’t bet a ball of pocket lint against Bron with the way he’s playing right now.


    if Durant does it, so much will go his way. beating the best team and then beating the best player to take the gold. sorta what micheal did to barkley.

  • bike

    The other big story will be what the rest of MIA other than LeBron does. Has Bosh fully recovered? What’s up with Wade? Can the ‘non-big three guys’ play 120 percent? Who does the coaching advantage go to?
    Here is hoping it goes 7 games.

  • Pais

    So, is Bosh a legitimate 3pt shooter now? If so, what kind of impact will that have? If Rondo, as I guy who’s been criticized his whole career for a perceived inability to score can put 40+ on Miami, what the heck are Westbrook and Harden gonna do? As a middle aged dude I was really pulling for SA and Bos. It’s tough to concede that my generation while it still commands respect is now getting the torch forcibly pried from our grip (ask Kobe). That said, this has to be without doubt the best possible matchup a basketball fan could hope for.

  • Layzie

    Obviously they won’t guard westbrook or harden like rondo. With rondo they gave him so much space and dared him to shoot. His shots were just going in that night. Westbrook and harden are proven scorers so they will defend them much better than they did rondo.

  • Jerome

    OKC will win three championships (possibly in a row) before wherever LeBron takes his talents to.

  • Stan the boy Taylor

    Wouldn’t the biggest superstar showdown since 91 be Jordan vs Drexler in 92?

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    not a single game on Fridays or Saturdays… as usual. It’s tough to see the Finals starting at 3:00 AM and working… oh well, sleeping is for cowards, it’s going to be a great Finals.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Shaq and Hakeem.

  • BostonBaller

    It’s all about the headlines….lol

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Just because Barkely won the MVP in 93 doesn’t mean that he was better than Mike. Mike was the undsiputed best player in the L from 86 to 93.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Not 86. Like 88-89 at the earliest. Magic and Bird were still at the height of their powers in 86. And they knew how to win. Which Jordan didn’t truly grasp at that point.

  • Ldub

    Everyone wants to keep saying it boils down to the bench production. Which I agree with to a degree. No one seems to be discussing the experience factor. Only Fish and Perk have been to the show. You have a roster almost full of guys from last year that went. Bron went a few years back and Wade won the MVP in 06′. This is not just another game or another series. Its much more serious than that. I think Durant will excel because the dude just doesnt buckle under pressure. I also think Perk, Fish and Harden will do well too. But the other guys like RW, Ibaka, Thabo, Collison, etc might not be ready. I do expect the crowd to be absolutely bananas in OKC but that may not be enough. Im pulling for Miami in 6. I say this because I think they can steal one on the road in 1 of the 1st two games. And then they have 3 games in a row at home. Gonna be a great series. Hope everyone stays healthy and we dont have any blow out games. Everything down to the wire with both teams scrappin’

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    MJ didn’t know how to win because his supporting cast wasn’t good enough. The 2nd/3rd best players on the 86 Bulls were Charles Oakley and John Paxson. Magic or Larry aren’t winning sh*t with those guys.

  • jose

    its a bold prediction, but i seriously believe Miami can steal game 1. . .

  • Ldub

    @IGGI….I think we had a discussion about this the other day when I mentioned that with Bosh back…they can stretch the floor? Which means Ibaka and Perk will be outside of the paint alot. Which also means that their help side D could be extremely ineffective. Too much ground to make up…especially if Bosh is hitting 3′s now. I still dont consider him a 3 point shooter…but if he is…then sheeit. you wont hear one complaint from me.

  • Ldub

    Imagine a lineup of Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh and say Haslem/Miller/Battier. If its Miller or Battier…those dudes are in the corner. And if its Haslem..he is either at high post or baseline. Either way…no team in the L has enough talent to cover the entire floor effectively. Either youre gonna give up the drive or the 3. And if Battier is hitting like he was last game (as well as Bosh)…you have to play the 3. But allowing Wade and James to get in the paint is also unacceptable. Gonna love to see the gameplan Brooks draws up for the boys down in OKC!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Unless you’re going to get shot if you’re wrong, no prediction is bold.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Theres alot of people in Seattle who just became huge Heat fans.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    so you mean 87? when you say the just one year, it’s (generally) representative of the latter half of the season. So you say Jordan won his titles in 91,92,93,ect. or Jordan won rookie of the year in “85″
    regardless, statistically he was without a doubt the best player in the league in 87, but that didn’t translate to any playoff success at all (in-fact they got swept by Boston) so I could never consider him the best player in the league that season.


    If every game is a blow-out, how is that exciting? Blow-outs tend to be boring.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i am excited, unless that happens is basically what i was sayin.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    That is what I meant. Individually, MJ was the best player from 86-87 on but Magic/Bird were better team players on better teams.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i feel you

  • tpathi1

    @nbk bird called MJ ‘god’ that playoff series…when an all time great says that MJ was ‘god’ back then…all of our opinions simply doesnt matter anymore. I got the Heat in 6, if LBJ wants to prove his greatness, he better shut down KD..he has all the tools to do so..lets see if he gets it done. I read that article ‘is KD a big enough G’ posted by @Shock Exchange…i gotta cosign wit that article..KD is not G enough!! I never seen him get mad at Westbrook, not visibly upset, not once with Westbrook for being such a ball hog at times!!

  • BostonBaller

    I never put too much stock into the “experience” talk, if an entire team has been there then I give that more weight but if a franchise has won multiple titles but hasn’t won anything in 10 years I don’t want to hear about experience. If anything, the Heat has more guys that has been to the Finals but OKC has 2 guys with rings…what does either have to do with anything? Experience is gained by players on the court in the moment.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    he actually said, “He is the most exciting, awesome player in the game today. I think it’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan.” – and that was in ’86 after Jordan’s 63 point performance not in ’87, the year we are talking about.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^Probably cause he knows the Thunder are a good team because of his style of play… Who would want to change a winning formula?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow


  • Ldub

    what it has to do with it is the mentality and “know how” of how to deal in certain situations. like i said before….this isnt just another series…this is a completely different ball game. And if you havent been there before, youre not going to know how to deal with certain moments. Sure Fish and Perk have rings. But so does Haslem and Wade. And if you dont think experience plays a factor into things…you just dont know sports. That is one of the biggest arguments or handicaps (if you will) that people discuss. Point example to change genres (boxing). People talk about a fighter thats up and coming regarding his age and potential. But then the talk about the older fighter, being more experienced and having more knowledge. The more you are in a certain setting, the more comfortable you will be. IDK if anyone can say they are actually COMFORTABLE in the finals…but my point is…if you have been there (whether you winning or not)…you somewhat know what to expect. Which plays a huge factor into what you can/will do. Or what you can do differently. Experience matters!

  • Ldub

    it also can dictate what level of confidence you have as well. And we all know that confidence plays another huge part in anything you do. If you would Kobe, going against say….CP3 in his 1st year…would you be more confident? Yes…not because CP3 is a rookie, but because youve been where he has been and you have the experience already under your belt to handle whatever he throws at you.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I once had a three way with Kevin durant and Lebron James. near the end I could still feel KD while LBJ kinda faded

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba ti-sizzle

    nice analogy nbk! i see where you’re going there

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ ti-sizzle

    I <3 LBJ. best player in the nba……………

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    ldub has been making dope points. props to him.

  • Bill Haverchuk

    I’m not sure why everyone is talking about Miami like its Lebron with the Cavs all over again? Yeah, Wade has been inconsistent, but he showed up in game 7. Bosh seems to be at least healthy enough to be a threat so this isn’t some garbage team with one godly player, this is going to be a battle. Heat in 6.

  • DS44

    Has LeBron won the championship yet?

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com Off The Backboard

    Lebron/Durant is much more exciting than Kobe/Lebron because of the closeness in their ages – only a 4 year gap as opposed to 6. The fun part is that Lebron still has at least 4-5 years of elite play left in him before he tails off (weird to think that his apex is likely this season). This is going to be fun series and could be the start of a Finals rivalry. I have OKC in 6 like many others because while Lebron is playing out of this world, the rest of the Heat are not. And if you can beat a Spurs team that won 20 in a row 4 straight times, you deserve to be the favorite in the NBA Finals.

  • http://nba.com/celtics lights out

    i think i’m part of a minuscule minority when i say i’m not thrilled about this matchup. i like the storyline of Bron-Durant, probably the two best players in the league (as Off pointed out, the closeness of their ages makes it even more interesting), but other than that, little excites me here. these are two teams that play backyard basketball, which can be fun to watch, but not nearly as interesting to me as truly cerebral basketball. this is not going to be a chess match of a series. i’m not taking away from how good these teams are; i’m just saying they’re not good in the ways that i enjoy most.

  • DukeFromDeep

    OKC in 6. Book it!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Spo > Scott Brooks.

  • lebron james

    Thunder in 4 watch I’m not clutch

  • Drig

    Sigh……I was looking forward to Spurs vs Celts so damn much. This one will be a make-miss series. Coaching be damned. (And I hate that. I was hoping to see Pop vs Doc )

  • http://streetlights.dk/ Streetlights

    Funny how the NBA had a front page headline that said all “true hoops fans” would want the Heat to move past the Celtics and advance to the Finals. This should be interesting, sure, but I’d rather have a series where I can see myself cheering for both teams.


    Phuk all your weak predictions & assumptions. Lets play ball. Bring it!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Make NO MISTAKE… LeBron and Durant will not cancel each other out…. THESE GUYS ARE THE SUPERSTARS ON THEIR TEAMS…which ever one plays the best will win the championship.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Caboose’s mom> nbk’s mom in bed.