LeBron James & Kevin Durant Have Not Faced Each Other Since 2018
— Updated on 11 April 2023

LeBron James & Kevin Durant Have Not Faced Each Other Since 2018

— Updated on 11 April 2023

UPDATE [11/04/2023]: The streak continues. After clinching the four seed in the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns decided to rest their star players in their game against the Los Angeles Lakers. There is a slim chance that the pair meet in the playoffs, meaning it will likely be next season when we get that Kevin Durant-LeBron James matchup we’ve all been waiting for.

Original Article – LeBron James & Kevin Durant Will Face Each Other For The First Time Since 2018

It is pretty surprising that, in a league where teams are asked to play 82 regular season games a year, we haven’t seen a matchup between LeBron James and Kevin Durant in a bit over four years. Yet, two of the premier names in basketball, once upon a time considered a rivalry, are finally about to share the same court for the first time since 2018.

We’ve had a few iterations of this matchup, with both Durant and James having played for three organisations each in the last decade. Interestingly enough, we never got to see LeBron James go up against Kevin Durant in a Brooklyn Nets jersey for his entire tenure with the team. We’ve actually only ever seen the Slim Reaper face King James one time in his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers and it was prior to the Anthony Davis trade. It’s been a long, long time.

The NBA landscape changes fast, as we can see from looking at their most recent game. Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors, fresh off their second consecutive title against James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, hosted James’ Lakers at Oracle Arena in Oakland (the team now plays in the Chase Center in San Francisco) for the Christmas Day game.

The Lakers beat the Warriors 127-101, and Durant finished the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in 37 minutes. James, on the other hand, posted 17 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists before exiting the game early with a groin injury in the second half.

Therein lies the answer to the mystery of why they haven’t played. There have just been so many injuries.

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“I was surprised,” said Durant after Tuesday’s shootaround, on how long it’s been since he and James battled.

“We’ve been through a lot of injuries, a lot of unfortunate situations. Anything can happen, but just move forward and hopefully, we get a chance to be on the court.”

Kevin Durant and LeBron James have almost exclusively played for opposing conferences. When James was with the Heat in the Eastern Conference, Durant the Thunder in the Western Conference. Then when James returned to the Cavs and Durant moved to the Warriors, they stayed on opposite ends of the USA. Finally, KD went to Brooklyn and LBJ went to Los Angeles. While this leads to a potentially epic matchup between the two in the NBA Finals, where the best team in the East faces the best team in the West, it also means they only play each other twice in the regular season (one home game, one away game).

In a team sport, head-to-head matchups mean very little in discussing who the more impactful player is, but for those interested LeBron James-led teams have beaten Kevin Durant’s 20 times to 15. Durant, however, has the edge in playoff matchups (9-5) after two trips to the NBA Finals on a stacked Warriors team.

Kevin Durant is 34 years old. LeBron James is 38. We’re well past the days when the two were teaming up to make a leaked rap song together. They’re veterans now with their own recent histories of lower-body injuries in the tail-end of their respective careers. Even though they both now play in the same conference, after KD got traded to the Phoenix Suns, matchups between these two legends of the game are worth appreciating when they come around.

The Los Angeles Lakers are set to host the Phoenix Suns tomorrow at 12:30 pm AEST.

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