The Norman Transcript

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February 14, 2013

Durant, Lebron square off for final time in regular season

Thunder attempting to snap 5-game skid against Heat

NORMAN — As the NBA heads into its midseason All-Star break Friday, the 2012-13 season has been about two teams and two players.

With all due respect to the resurgent Knicks, the crafty Spurs, the train wreck Lakers or the Lob City Clippers, the Heat and the Thunder seem to be on a collision course for a rematch in the NBA Finals.

Miami travels to Oklahoma tonight for the teams’ second encounter of the year. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The contest will feature the top two players in the NBA. The gap to whomever is No. 3 is a chasm. LeBron James and Kevin Durant have proven they are in a class by themselves this season with their overall play and have propelled their teams’ to the second and third best records in the league.

It’s a historic run. That is what NBA analysts across the country are calling the recent play of Miami’s LeBron James.

For six straight games, the reigning NBA MVP has scored at least 30 points and shot better than 60 percent from the field. Over that span Miami is 6-0 and reclaimed its unbeatable status.

James’ recent play has brought out about the possibility of the Heat (35-14) having a cakewalk to a second straight NBA championship.

But Durant is having just as impressive a season, even though he’s not getting the same amount of coverage as James. The 3-time scoring champ is on pace to not only win a fourth scoring title, but also join the 50-40-90 club. To make it into this elite club, a player has to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent at the free throw line. Only Larry Bird (2), Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller, Mark price and Steve Nash have ever accomplished it before. Only Bird had a higher scoring average than Durant’s current pace of 29.1.

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