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NBA Finals: As much as it hurt, Kevin Durant was gracious in defeat

The league's three-time scoring champion applauds LeBron James and Miami's suffocating defense.
By John Rohde Published: June 22, 2012

He spoke of what fuels him: “I'm going to find the positives and negatives … It's going to hurt a little bit. We've got to move past it.”

And, of course, Durant reaffirmed he wouldn't want to play anywhere else but OKC.

After losing to Dallas in the Western Conference Finals last season, Durant said he felt like he let the whole city down.

Nothing could have been further from the truth back then, and nothing could be further from the truth right now.

Evidently, this was the year to finish No. 2 for Durant.

Though he won his third straight scoring title, Durant finished runner-up to James for the league's Most Valuable Player and runner-up for the world championship.

Next month, Durant and James will join forces on the U.S. Olympic team, a scary 1-2 combination when you think about it.

Durant averaged 30.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and shot 54.8 percent from the field in the Finals, despite being the primary focus of a suffocating Miami defense.

James' numbers were more well-rounded at 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists.

“I think Kevin Durant is a hell of a player, one of the best players we have in this league, hands down,” James said. “I basically told him I was proud of him, everything he achieved this year. You know, he's going to use this experience, like I used it, as motivation.”

When his interview session finally was over, Durant had the temerity to tell the media: “Thank you guys for everything you did this season, good or bad. We appreciate it.”

That never happens, not even from a player on the winning team.

But it happens with Kevin Durant, who no doubt will be back better than ever next season, which will make Thunder fans prouder than ever.

If that's possible.

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