LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s destinies will always be intertwined. The two generational talents have faced each other in the NBA Finals three times with two different teams apiece. In those matchups, Durant has a 9-5 record, winning two chips against James as revenge for one loss in 1012. They had similar scoring outputs in those Finals games, with Durant averaging 29.8 and James putting out 29.6 per game.
Those games feel like a lifetime ago, and the NBA landscape has changed so much in that half decade. Although James won another title with the Lakers in 2020, the next generation of talent has started to take over.
That’s why we’ve got to treasure the few remaining matchups we’ll get to see between legends like James and Durant. While both of them are still among the game’s best players, the clock is ticking and we aren’t going to many more chances to see them go head-to-head.
Their latest battle ended up being another fun one to watch. Durant won the duel with 39 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block while shooting 14 of 28 from the field and 10 of 13 from the free throw line. Durant scored 16 of those points in the third quarter, which gave the Suns a comfortable 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Durant also hit a personal milestone in the game, passing Hakeem Olajuwon for the 12th spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
James and the Lakers refused to go away, though. Even though the ‘King’ may no longer have the same stamina that he did in his younger days, he mustered his strength once again in the fourth quarter. James scored 10 points in the final period, including a pair of layups in the final 70 seconds of the game that gave the Lakers the lead for good.
James finished the game with 21 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and two blocks in the 100-95 victory. More importantly, the win gives them the 1-0 edge against a division rival. Considering that the division has five of the Western Conference’s best teams, every edge is going to matter in what should be one heck of a grind.