On Thursday evening, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers took on Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns in one of the early marquee matchups of the 2023-24 NBA season. The game marked the first time that Durant and James had played one another in a non-preseason game since December 2018, and the Lakers ultimately emerged with a narrow 100-95 victory after an epic fourth quarter comeback.
Following the contest, James took to Instagram to caption a photo of himself and Durant after the game, writing, “A true LEGEND!!! My dog.”
On Friday evening, Kevin Durant scored an impressive 39 points to go along with 11 rebounds, playing without his Suns costars Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. James, meanwhile, had 21 on the evening, including back-to-back layups in the waning moments of the game to help the Lakers pull away with the win.
James and Durant have had several high-profile matchups with one another throughout their illustrious careers. They first squared off in the playoffs during the 2012 NBA Finals, when James’ Miami Heat defeated Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder to win James his first championship. Then, in 2017 and 2018, Durant’s Golden State Warriors defeated James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in consecutive NBA Finals to earn Durant two straight titles.
With James now 38 years old and Durant 35, there probably aren’t a ton of matchups left between arguably the two best players of their generation, so it’s important that fans enjoy them while they’re here. It’s also great to see the mutual respect between the stars that shone through after the game on Thursday.