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BASKETBALL > Durant shows his swagger in first game

OKLAHOMA CITY - Agence France-Presse

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Kevin Durant reacts in the fourth quarter in Game One of the NBA Finals. AFP photo

Kevin Durant reacts in the fourth quarter in Game One of the NBA Finals. AFP photo

Oklahoma City struck first in the NBA finals, giving Thunder star Kevin Durant early bragging rights over three-time MVP LeBron James.

“For this whole playoffs, I’m just trying to play my game, be aggressive, and if I see a shot I have to take it,” said Durant. “I have to go back tomorrow and watch film and see how I can get better and hopefully have a better game.” The 2012 NBA finals is defined by the two best players in the game -- Miami’s James and three-time scoring champion Durant.

Durant finished with 36 points, eight rebounds and four assists as Oklahoma City came from behind to defeat James’ Miami Heat 105-94 in game one Tuesday in front of a crowd of 18,203 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Durant and James were given the task of guarding each other during portions of game one and for awhile, especially in the second quarter, it looked like James might get the better of Durant.

James had 10 of his team-high 30 points in the second quarter for the Heat who shot 51 percent from the field in the first half.

“I’m not worried about the one-on-one match-up, it’s just about the team, and he (James) does such a great job of guarding everybody,” said Durant, whose 36 points matched his 2012 playoff high.

Miami and Oklahoma City are not complete strangers to the final series but just three teams, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Antonio are responsible for 10 of the last 13 NBA titles.

James has essentially spent the past five years answering for his playoff failures. Now he’s determined to prove he can close this out in his third trip to the NBA finals.

“Obviously, LeBron wants to win a championship,” Miami teammate Dwyane Wade said. “I can’t say that he wants to win more than the next man, than anybody on OKC. I can’t say that.”

June/14/2012

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