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Thunder rally past Heat, go up 1-0

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Kevin Durant delivered the fourth quarter LeBron Jamesnever could last year.

So forget those NBA Finals jitters at the start. Durant and the young Thunder showed they have already figured out how to finish.

Durant scored 17 of his 36 points in another nightmarish final period for James and his team, leading a Thunder storm that overwhelmed the Heat and gave Oklahoma City a 105-94 victory over Miami in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

“That’s what they do, they keep on coming,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They’re relentless.”

Teaming with Russell Westbrook to outscore the Heat in the second half by themselves, Durant struck first in his head-to-head matchup with James, who had seven points in the final quarter and was helpless to stop the league’s three-time scoring champion.

“Well, those guys, they came out on fire. They were passing the ball well, knocking down shots. We just wanted to continue to keep playing,” Durant said. “It’s a long game, and every time our coach was just saying, ‘Play harder, play harder,’ and that’s what we did.”

Westbrook turned around a poor shooting start to finish with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, keying a strong finish to the third period that gave the Thunder the lead for good.

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Snoop Dogg: Magic gave Lakers fans clarity, says AD & Kyrie should join LeBron | NBA | UNDISPUTED

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GOATs on GOATs: LeBron and MJ in their own words through the years

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Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Six championships. Count ’em. OK, stop us if you’ve also heard this: LeBron James is the GOAT. The King is simply bigger and stronger, and he has done it longer.

The two never faced off in an NBA game. Jordan played his last game for the Washington Wizards on April 16, 2003 — two months before the Cleveland Cavaliers made James the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. But their paths have been linked for as long as we can remember — and will cross again soon. James is set to serve as a captain for this weekend’s 2019 NBA All-Star Game, being staged in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Jordan serves as the owner of the Hornets. Shortly after, James, now in his 16th season, likely will pass Jordan for fourth on the league’s all-time scoring list. So who is the real GOAT? The debate rages on. On your television. In the comments section. In your Twitter replies.

But it doesn’t matter what we say. Here are Jordan and James, in their own words, talking about each other over the past 17 years.


2001: The first meeting

LeBron James was a young high school star who had yet to make his big impression on the national stage when he first met Michael Jordan, who was preparing for a comeback with the Wizards. James spoke about that first meeting this past December as he prepared to play the Jordan-owned Hornets in Charlotte.

“It was godly. I’ve said that over and over before, but it was like meeting God for the first time. That’s what I felt like as a 16-year-old kid when I met MJ.
— LeBron James
Dec. 15, 2018 (Source: Multiple, pregame media availability)

2002: LeBron hits the scene

Just a year later, James himself was getting compared to deities, being dubbed “The Chosen One” on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” as a junior in high school.

He’s very talented. But he’s young, and there’s a lot of things he doesn’t know.”
— Michael Jordan
Jan. 18, 2002 (Source: Associated Press)

“If you have a chance to talk to him, you listen. More people listen to him than listen to the president of the United States.”
— LeBron James
Nov. 5, 2002 (Source: Newhouse News Services)

Read full feature by Anthony Olivieri HERE

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Sarah Thomas to become the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game

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