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Oklahoma City Thunder: Has OKC gotten better at defending LeBron James? It's time to find out

The Thunder on Tuesday will get another shot at cracking the code that is LeBron James. The Christmas Day showcase will be the first time the Thunder has faced James since he bulldozed through OKC and powered his Miami Heat to a 4-1 victory in last year's NBA Finals.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 23, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) guards against Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) during the NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 25, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) guards against Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) during the NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 25, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps The Oklahoman

For the series, James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.6 steals en route to Finals MVP honors.

“LeBron was on a level that not too many players ever were on,” Brooks said. “I thought we did the best we could do.”

OKC will have to do better.

The Thunder and Heat are widely projected to be on a collision course for a Finals rematch. And unless the Thunder can slow down James the next time around, a different outcome is hard to envision.

“You can't just throw anybody on him,” Durant said. “But I think we're athletic enough and quick enough to help and get out on the shooters and contest shots. We just got to make it tough on those guys. That's all we can do. I think our defense is built for that. If we get out to the shooters and contest shots and rebound then we'll give ourselves a chance. But it's easier said than done. We just got to go out there and do it.”

Durant insists he's ready for another round with the league's toughest riddle.

“I got my work cut out for me,” Durant said. “But it's a great challenge. I'm looking forward to it.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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