Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant versus LeBron James: Let’s Appreciate Greatness

Tonight the (0-1) Los Angeles Lakers are home against the (1-0) Phoenix Suns. This means LeBron James and Kevin Durant will play against in each other in a game that actually counts for the first time since December 25,2018.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

In that Christmas Day match-up, the Lakers won 127-101. James only played 21 minutes in that game. He left with a groin injury. In those 21 minutes he scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out five assists. Durant had 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.

This was Durant’s last season with the Golden State Warriors and James was in his first year with the Lakers. A lot has changed since then, Durant is now with the Suns after being a Brooklyn Net for three plus seasons. James is now in year six with the Lakers.

The Regular Season Battles

Prior to this nearly five year gap, Durant and James played against each other a lot despite being in different conferences. In 21 regular season games against LeBron James, Durant averaged 28.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. He shot 48% from the floor and 41% from three in those match-ups.

James averaged 28 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game against Kevin Durant. He was very efficient in those match-ups as well. James shot 51% from the floor and 35% from three. James is 15-6 against Durant in the regular season. They also have played against each other in three separate NBA Finals.

2012 NBA Finals

The first time Durant and James met in the finals was in 2012. LeBron James was on the Miami Heat and Kevin Durant was on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat defeated the Thunder in five games. This was James’ third appearance in the Finals. The previous experience helped him in this match-up. He averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists while shooting 47.2% from the floor.

Durant played like a veteran in those finals even though it was his first time in the series. He averaged 30.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 54.8% from the floor and 39.4% from three.

2017 NBA Finals

Prior to the 2016-17 season Kevin Durant was a free agent and decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers had split the previous two NBA Finals series. Durant joined this rivalry and turned it in the Warriors favor. Golden State won the series in five games. Durant averaged 35.2 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, 5.4 assists per game, shot 55.6% from the field and 47.4% from three. He also hit arguably the most iconic shot of his career.

LeBron James’ team was outmatched but he was amazing in the series. He averaged a triple double, 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game.

2018 NBA Finals

The Warriors were the far better team in the 2018 NBA Finals and swept the Cavaliers. LeBron James had maybe the best performance in a losing effort that we will ever see in game one of the series.

James finished the game with 51 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists on 59% shooting from the floor.

Kevin Durant was superb again in that series. He averaged 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game.

After all of these battles there is a mutual respect that both James and Durant have for each other.

The Future

No one knew that Kevin Durant and LeBron James would only face each other one more time between the 2018 NBA Finals and October of 2023. If we did we probably would of appreciated the battles we witnessed a lot more. Hopefully we get to see these two play against each other a few more times this year and maybe even one more playoff series but if the last five years has shown us anything, it’s that nothing is guaranteed.

LeBron James is now in year 21 of his NBA career and Kevin Durant is 35 years old. We may not get to see this match-up for much longer. So with arguably the two greatest players of this generation playing against each other for the first time in nearly five years, let’s just sit back and truly enjoy what we are witnessing.

More in Phoenix Suns