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Oklahoma City Thunder: LeBron James might be playing his best basketball ever

The Thunder needs to figure out how to guard the Miami Heat's 6-foot-8 All-Star on Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 13, 2013

So how does the Thunder stop this freight train that's about to pull into Chesapeake Energy Arena with a head of steam?

“Superstars in this league, you can't stop,” said Kevin Durant. “You can't slow down, either. They were born to get a basket. They were born to do whatever they want on the floor. That's not just LeBron. There's a handful of guys that can do that. But you've got to stop them with your team.”

The Thunder has a team full of individual defenders to look to. Some are good options for James, others are iffy. But all seven — Durant, Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, Perry Jones III and DeAndre Liggins — bring something that just might help sidetrack James.

“That's what makes us pretty good also is we can throw multiple defenders at different players,” Brooks said. “But with all our defenders, whoever's guarding him, we want the defender to be physical and play with toughness.”

Durant said the Thunder's help defense will be vital.

“You've got to make them see a crowd,” Durant said of guarding stars like James. “You've got to make them see a paint that's closed up. You've got to make them see hands. You don't just guard guys like that by yourself.”

Eliminate his scoring, though, and James becomes a passer. Take away his ball distribution and he rebounds. Keep him off the glass and he defends.

“There's so many skills that he brings to the team. But I think his biggest strength is that he plays for the team. Whatever the team needs that particular game, that particular moment, he's able to bring it,” Brooks said. “Not a lot of guys can do that on demand like he can. That's what makes him a candidate for league MVP for the next 10 years.”