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James, Durant Set To Duel In NBA Finals

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Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots during NBA Finals Media Availability. (credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots during NBA Finals Media Availability. (credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)LeBron James versus Kevin Durant. It is the story of these NBA finals.

Except to the guys who share the top billing.

One of them will emerge with his first championship and probably the title of best player in the game.

It could be James, the three-time MVP. Or it might be Durant, the league’s scoring champion the last three years.

All they know is whoever it is won’t have done it alone.

“Everybody is going to make the most out of the matchup of me versus LeBron, but it’s the Thunder versus the Heat,” Durant said Monday. “One guy versus another guy, it’s not going to be a 1-on-1 matchup to win the series, it’s going to be all about the team.”

Maybe, but it’s easy to get caught up in their individual brilliance.

It’s the first time the MVP and scoring champ have met in the finals since 1997, when Michael Jordan’s Bulls knocked off MVP Karl Malone and Utah.

They are friends and workout partners, play the same small forward position and are blessed with unlimited basketball talent. After years of waiting on a James-Kobe Bryant finals matchup that never materialized, the league gets one starting Tuesday that’s perhaps even better, if not quite as sexy, to wrap up a successful season after the lockout.

“It’s great for the NBA,” Miami’s Shane Battier said. “I anticipate record ratings, which is great, so maybe we can get some of the escrow check back from the owners. First and foremost, that’s why I’m excited to see Kevin Durant versus LeBron James. But selfish reasons aside, it’s just a great matchup.

“There’s so many young, great players in this league and established players and All-Stars. If you’re a basketball fan, you’re missing out if you’re not watching this series.”

Both have sworn off Twitter, at least for the time being, James posted his last message on April 27 and Durant on May 1.

For now, KingJames and KDTrey5 will stick to making their statements on the court.

“Kevin is locked in on what he needs to do to help the team win,” Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook said. “It’s going to be a great series for both teams and hopefully we can come out with the win.”

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