NBA Finals: LeBron James gets best of Kevin Durant late as Heat even series with Thunder

Down two, 12 seconds left, the ball in Kevin Durant's hands on the baseline. Nobody north of Palm Beach thought Durant would miss. But this time, LeBron James, the biggest, baddest baller on the planet, guarded Durant.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 15, 2012

The rest of the league is 1-for-30, if you're counting at home.

Was Durant fouled? The Thunder pleaded the Fifth.

“That's one play,” said Scotty Brooks. “We have so many other plays that we could have done better to put us in position to stay closer in the game. I'm not going to get into that (officiating). I haven't in the past, I'm not going to start doing it now.

“The last minute, I won't even look at that. I'm going to focus on the first six to eight minutes of the game.”

That was a tirade compared with Durant.

“We were supposed to run a little pindown play, but Fish made a great pass,” Durant said. “I was open, and I missed the shot.”

Was there contact? Do you wished you had done something else?

“You know, I think I shot a good shot,” Durant said. “That's a shot I shoot all the time. I just missed.”

Was there contact?

“I was just worrying about the shot. I really couldn't tell you. I've got to watch the film, I guess.”

Are you saying you didn't get mugged?

“I missed the shot, man.”

Either way, Durant had help from LeBron. Durant had somehow willed his way to 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting, despite having just two points in the game's first 18 minutes.

“On the last play, I figured they were going to go to him,” LeBron said. “He got a small step on me. I just wanted to try to keep a body on him, make him take a tough shot, and he's made tough shots all year, all series, and just that one he missed.

“KD is an unbelievable talent. I think we all know that. We all see that. He can make every shot on the floor. Just try to keep a body on him, take contested shots. He got away from me a couple times, got a couple of 3s that I am not too happy about.”

But Durant didn't get away from LeBron when the Thunder needed it most. Durant had launched a game-winner against Dallas and two against the Lakers and had become the NBA's Mister Clutch. But King James trumped King Closer, and now we've got a series on our hands.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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