Kevin Durant thoroughly dismantled LeBron in the NBA Finals in 2017, en route to the MVP award, but the 1-on-1 matchup with King James got in KD’s head in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, because he was awful.
Not only did Durant shoot 8-for-22 from the field, and 1-of-7 on three-pointers, but he played poorly offensively late in the game, and then somehow let JR Smith collect an offensive rebound in the closing seconds. If Smith had a clue what the score was, and the Cavs get a shot – LeBron was open – and win the game, Durant is getting taken behind the woodshed by the media.
Let’s not forget, if the refs don’t overturn the charging call on Durant with :36 left, the Cavs have the ball up two, and Durant’s really looking like the guy who lost the Warriors the game.
And he still might be skewered, because there’s no sign Andre Iguodala is going to play anytime soon, and thus LeBron is going to average over 40 points per game. And Durant is going to be forcing the offense to try and keep up with LeBron.
That’s not a winning strategy, KD. Exhale, play within the offense. It worked for you last year.
LeBron was fantastic in last year’s Finals – just not as good as Durant. This year, Game 1 went to LeBron overwhelmingly – 51 points on 19-of-32 shooting, plus eight rebounds and eight assists. He played 48 of 53 minutes.
Durant only shot 8-of-22 from the field, was 1-of-7 from deep, and finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and three blocks.