LeBron James entered Thursday’s match-up against Kevin Durant & the Thunder with a message to be delivered. He started the game scoring 12 straight points, which surprisingly is the most consecutive points he has ever scored to start a game, in the first 4 minutes.
“It was flawless,” Wade said. “He was aggressive defensively, he was able to play passing lanes and be who he is. That was a great start on the road by our leader. It was something that we needed.”
For most of the next 3 quarters, James dominated with 21 more points before an early bloody exit after getting hit in the face on a dunk over Ibaka.
With that final dunk, LeBron finished the game with 33 point and was a perfect 11 for 11 in the paint, the most in career without a miss. He was also 6 for 8 when being guarded by Kevin Durant who scored 28 points but missed 12 of his 22 attempts.
A lot of credit needs to be given to Shane Battier who guarded Durant for most of the game and had the most success against him. KD was just 1 for 9 when Battier was on him but was 9-13 (25 points) against everybody else.
LeBron also got a lot of support from his teammates on the offensive end. The Big 3 scored as many points (81) as the 12 Thunder players that played and Dwyane Wade looked like vintage Wade with a 24/10/7 performance.
After the game Wade was asked about LeBron sending a message and the MVP race.
“It’s not decided,” Wade said. “I don’t think that was a message. That was LeBron James being LeBron James. He loves the matchup, just like KD loves the matchup. The MVP is long, long from over.”
Inside the NBA crew discuss the match-up and Barkley says Durant doesn’t have a killer instinct.