Durant, James highlight what should be epic NBA Finals

LeBron vs. Durant, the NBA’s best 1-on-1 Finals matchup since Jordan vs. Magic in 1991.

With all apologies to Boston and San Antonio, this is what everyone wanted. The fans. The commissioner. The players themselves.

“It’s only right,” LeBron James said of the Heat and Thunder meeting in the NBA Finals. “It’s only right.”

James is the NBA MVP, a three-time league MVP actually. On the other side stands Kevin Durant, a three-time scoring champion. They might be the two best basketball players in the world.

“It’s not about Kevin and LeBron,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Individually, they’re the best players in the league. But it’s always about the Thunder against the Heat.”

Sorry, coach. Even if Durant and James don’t guard each other often, this series is still very much about Kevin and LeBron.

The two imagined this day in the offseason, when they competed against one another in a four-day series of workouts that they dubbed “Hell Week.” James and Durant walked away from that with a mutual respect. Now, they are set to meet again, on the biggest stage: the NBA Finals. Not even Martin Scorsese could have scripted this any better.

“I envisioned it every day we worked out,” James said. “I understood what his [Durant's] passion was. I understood what his drive was.”

James is the man everyone loves to hate. With his perceived cockiness and bravado, he’ll be picked apart each time he disappears in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Durant enters as the fresh face, a player very much in tune with his surroundings. And representing a small market like Oklahoma City only adds to his likeability.

“The city is just so laid-back and quiet, and that’s the type of person I am and it fits me well,” Durant told reporters. “It’s just a perfect place to be.”

James and the Heat are invading that sleepy town tonight (9 p.m., ABC), in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. As the eyes and ears of the hoops world turn to Oklahoma City, expect a lot of things.
Just don’t expect it to be quiet.

‘Humbled’ to be back in NBA Finals

LeBron James admitted yesterday that he let his teammates down last year. He averaged just 17.6 points against Dallas in the NBA Finals.

“I’m happy and I’m humbled that I can actually be back in this position less than 12 months later and to do a better job of making more plays on a bigger stage,” James told reporters.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

No criminal charges in fatal gun range shooting…

County law enforcement officials in Arizona said on Thursday no criminal charges are pending after a probe into a gun range incident in which a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…