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Kevin Durant Leads Suns Past LeBron James, Lakers In Preseason Finale In Rare Matchup Between Stars


LeBron James and Kevin Durant faced off on Thursday for the first time in nearly five years though it wasn’t a regular-season match, and neither player played for an extended period of time.

Thursday’s preseason finale between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers took place in Palm Springs, California. Fans who had been missing the Durant-James showdown for years found it exhilarating, even though the Suns easily won 123-100 and the game didn’t matter anything in the end.

When James and the Lakers defeated Durant and the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day 2018, it was their final time sharing the court. James or Durant have both missed games due to injuries, even though their teams have faced off on several occasions subsequently.

“It’s just two iconic figures in the game of basketball today, and they’ll forever be two iconic figures in the game of basketball,” said Suns coach Frank Vogel, who coached James in Los Angeles before landing in Phoenix, via NBA reporter Mark Medina.

“They’ve basically dominated this generation in different ways, so it has been something the fans have missed out — it’s been that long since they’ve shared the court together. I’m excited to see them out there today.”

There weren’t many significant exchanges between the two stars throughout the actual game. Despite playing only 17 minutes, Durant scored a team-high 21 points on 8 of 14 field goals. James continued to play, albeit not for very long. In 22 minutes, he scored a team-high 19 points and pulled down six rebounds in the Lakers’ defeat.

However, Durant defeated James with an easy 3-pointer at Acrisure Arena shortly before the half.

James managed to take a poke to both of his eyes at the same time, which made his first half even worse.

The Suns easily won their fourth preseason game, outscoring the Lakers by 20 points in the third quarter after the Lakers had taken a four-point lead at the half.

Yuta Watanabe finished with 12 points, and Saben Lee contributed 15 points off the bench. For the last preseason game, the Suns rested Bradley Beal and Devin Booker.

Fortunately, the game on Thursday is only a taster. The Lakers and Suns will square off again at Cyrpto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Thursday. This should be James and Durant’s first real clash since Christmas Day of five years ago.

That one will have far greater significance now that the regular season is under way and teams have complete rosters.

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