Kevin Durant (left) and LeBron James (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(The Root) — Yes, LeBron James' foul on Kevin Durant wasn't called Thursday night in the waning seconds of Game 2. Yes, the Miami Heat barely held on to win against the hard-charging Oklahoma City Thunder. And yes, folks who adhere to NBA conspiracy theories have more "evidence" to pair with New Orleans winning the draft lottery last month.

But the real story as the NBA Finals takes a break before resuming in Miami doesn't involve questionable non-calls. It's not the frequent flopping by defenders or the bitter disappointment in the Thunder's former home.


It's the ongoing battle between King James and KD Trey, the best two players in the league.

Both have been spectacular through the first two games, each man leading his team to a victory. James is averaging 31 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals, displaying the all-around game that just earned him a third Most Valuable Player award. Durant, a three-time scoring champion, has been a stone-cold killer. He's averaging 34 points and 5.5 rebounds, doing most of his damage in the second half.

These two virtuosos are putting on a show that eventually might rank among the greatest of all time. They've certainly lived up to the advance billing (most observers predicted this matchup before the season began), and they've produced historic TV ratings thus far.

Best of all, we get to see them matched against each other quite often, as when James was guarding Durant on the controversial no-call with 10 seconds left and the Thunder trailing by 2 points. "I want to guard the best and the biggest point of the game," James said after the game. "KD is an unbelievable talent. I think we all know that, we all see that. He can make every shot on the floor."


It's easy to forget that Durant is just 23 years old. His game and the way he carries himself are more in line with a wise veteran, not a spry youngster. He's been the epitome of class during his tenure in Oklahoma City, and that didn't change when he discussed the crucial play in Game 2.

Asked if there was contact on the play, Durant said, "That's a shot I shoot all the time. I just missed." But was he fouled? "I was just worrying about the shot," he said. "I really couldn't tell you. I've got to watch the film, I guess."


That response wasn't good enough for one journalist, who came back and asked: "You don't think you got mugged by LeBron on that last play?"

Still, Durant wouldn't go there. "I missed the shot, man."

He didn't seem too worried, considering how he's making more shots than he's missing in the finals (24-of-42 on field-goal attempts). The Heat might have gotten away with one Thursday night, but each team needs three more victories to claim the title.


Meanwhile, James and Durant will conduct their own personal battle for another title: Top Baller. And no matter which player prevails, the audience is going to win.

Deron Snyder's Loose Ball column appears regularly on The Root. Follow him on Twitter and reach him at BlackDoor Ventures, Inc.

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