A Deep Dive into the Intense Rivalry Between LeBron James & Kevin Durant

Published 03/01/2021, 3:11 PM EST


The NBA is a league full of storylines. Be it a revenge season for a player, or a gripping rivalry between players, these storylines make the NBA an exciting league.

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The biggest rivalry in this era of the league is that between two generational forwards in LeBron James and Kevin Durant. But how are the two future Hall of Famers, bitter rivals on the court?

LeBron James vs Kevin Durant head-to-head

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The Durant and LeBron rivalry dates all the way back to the 2012 Finals. LeBron and his ‘Big Three’ of the Miami Heat were facing off against a young OKC Thunder team that had steamrolled past defending champions Dallas Mavericks, the Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers, and a tough San Antonio Spurs team.

After winning comfortably against these two teams, the Thunder were seen as genuine contenders with the ability to off an upset against the Miami Heat. But LeBron and Co. were on a mission and comfortably dispatched the young side in 5 games.

This was just the start of one of the most intense rivalries in the league. Durant and Thunder couldn’t come out of the Western Conference again and we couldn’t see a possible Heat versus Thunder rematch in the Playoffs.

They did face each other in 7 regular season games where LeBron dominated KD, winning 6 games. But everything changed in 2016 when Durant joined the Golden State Warriors to form a Big Three with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

With the Warriors, Durant finally got his rematch against LeBron in the Playoffs. In the 2017 Finals, Durant got his revenge against LeBron as the Dubs defeated their adversaries in 5 games. KD averaged a monstrous 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game.

In the 2018 Finals, Durant dominated LeBron and Cavaliers as the Dubs swept them. Durant won his 2nd Finals MVP trophy. In the Playoffs, Durant has won 9 games out of the 14 he has played against Bron.

However, LBJ has the upper hand in the regular season, winning 15 games out of the 21 he played against KD.

A possible Finals rematch for LeBron and KD this season?

LeBron James may have won his 4th championship last season, but he certainly in for a much tougher route this season. After missing nearly 2 years due to an Achilles injury, Kevin Durant is back and is fully healthy.

This time KD has a star-studded offense with superstars Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Given how explosive this Brooklyn Nets’ offense is, they are surely the favorites to become the Eastern Conference champions.

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Feb 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) and forward Kevin Durant (7) rest near the team bench during a timeout against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The West might be stacked right now, but once the Lakers see the return of their second superstar, Anthony Davis, they are surely the favorites to win the Western Conference.

LeBron may have been short-handed in the last 2 Finals he played with the Cavs, but this time he has a more than capable supporting cast with a second superstar in Anthony Davis.

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Given the quality of both sides, it seems likely that we may end up seeing a Finals series between the Lakers and the Nets. Can KD lead the Nets to a maiden championship, or will LeBron win the elusive 5th ring of his career?

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Aditya Mohapatra

681 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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