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Lebron James A Huge Factor in Durant's Foul Troubles Stuck
Posted on June 18, 2012 at 01:28 PM.

Kevin Durant could only just watch as the Miami Heat melted the OKC Thunder's 10 point advantage in the third quarter of game three of the 2012 NBA Finals.

With a long sleeve pullover on, Kevin Durant found himself sitting out another huge chunk of another huge game, shouldered by another bad spate of foul trouble.

It's sometimes been said the best defense is a good offense, but in the case of Kevin Durant perhaps the best defense against him is to have Lebron James play offense against him?

It was James, after all, who was racking up a double-double on his way to leading the Miami Heat to a 2-1 advantage in this the 2012 edition of the NBA Finals.

James' stat lines are impressive to be sure in these Finals: 30 points, nine rebounds and four assists in Game 1. 32 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in game 2. 29 points and 14 rebounds in Game 3.

But perhaps the most important stat for Lebron is that Kevin Durant has only played more than 40 minutes once in the NBA Finals and it's happened because of Lebron's offensive prowess and ability to draw foul calls on Durant.

Before this series, Durant had played less than 40 minutes in games decided by 10 points or less only once in these playoffs. In two of the first three games in these Finals, Durant has failed to cross the 40 minute barrier.

The question that has to be going around the Thunder camp is how to keep Durant on the floor. The thought process has been to have him guard James for significant chunks of the game, but that simply isn't working. Durant can't play in foul trouble again if OKC wants to win an NBA Championship -- but it also seems the Thunder can't sacrifice more than one matchup in order to keep their star on the court.

That's what Lebron James does to a team. That's why the Heat are up 2-1 and have OKC reeling and forced with a must win game four.

Game 4 is the deciding factor between OKC having to win three straight games to win an NBA Championship or the series going back to OKC at 3-2 in someone's favor.

But to win Game 4, the Thunder have to figure out how to keep James from dominating the game while also keeping Durant on the court. Those two tasks might be tough to do at the same time.

Durant's stat lines are still quite good considering he's missed huge chunks of the last two games (36, 32, and 25 points respectively). OKC made some adjustments in the fourth, putting a combination of defenders on James and putting Durant in the nether regions of the court, far away from committing another foul and being cast into the purgatory of the bench.

The answer for OKC will be to somehow find a way to use a combination of defenses to keep Durant both out of foul trouble but also to keep the pressure on James. The status quo from games two and three will have to ultimately (and obviously) change.

For Miami, they need to keep taking advantage of the Thunder's youthful mistakes and they need to find ways to get Durant matched up with James and to keep drawing fouls on OKC's superstar and getting to the foul line.

Without a doubt, game four promises to be all sorts of fun tomorrow night.

Who do you have winning and why?
# 1 Kentucky_Wildcat23 @ Jun 18
I have Miami winning game 4 & 5, because I picked them to win the series in 5. I feel the Heat have gone through so much and are to resilient to lose at home. I could be wrong with my prediction, but I feel the Heat win this series, maybe not in 5 but in 6 for sure.
# 2 DirtyJerz32 @ Jun 18
The NBA and David Stern are not going to let Lebron fall short again. By taking the best player in the NBA off the court it gives the Heat a shot. It was clear in game one who the best player was.

The NBA is calling grade school fouls on Durant and he's not getting the same respect on the other end.
Game 1; 8-9, 2 pf
Game 2; 4-6, 5 pf
Game 3; 2-4, 5 pf

If this game does go 7 games the Heat will end up winning because that who the NBA wants to win...that's my conspiracy theory.
# 3 DirtyJerz32 @ Jun 18
No edit option. Those are Durant's numbers from the foul line.
# 4 fsufan4423 @ Jun 18
I'd say Durants foul troubles is contributed to half Lebron and half bad officiating. The refs have been extremely poor in these playoffs. I've seen muggings not called, and touch fouls get reactions like flagrants. The Heat better sweep in Miami, cause it goes back to OKC, it may be over.
# 5 cavsfan2 @ Jun 18
I cant help but think after those fouls that if the roles were switched, the refs would not call the foul on Lebron.
# 6 TalenT @ Jun 18
How many of you guys are FOR the Heat? I'm not a fan of either team, but it sounds to me like you guys are against the Heat and your views are biased a bit. There have been bad calls on both sides. You can't blame the refs in this situation one way or the other. OKC has just lost these games.
# 7 DirtyJerz32 @ Jun 18
Talen, I'm for good basketball. That's it, I have no biased for either team. IMO, the 2nd and 3rd games are totally favoring one team. Game 1 was a perfect example of how these games are supposed to be played. Let the players determine the outcome of games. NOT the officials.

The NBA and David Stern are going to do any and everything to make sure it goes 6 and that Lebron finally gets his ring. WATCH IT HAPPEN!
# 8 Jadakiss88 @ Jun 18
Jaymistic @ Jun 18 (1 Hour Ago)
The NBA is whack....I saw LeBron Run through Durant going to the rim and he was out the restricted area, but still Durant was called for the defensive foul. Officiating is horrible this year. Durant doesn't get the calls he is supposed to get.
Are you referring to last night LOL!!! That was a block all day Lebron was already taking his last step and Durant slid in late.
# 9 Jadakiss88 @ Jun 18
Game 1 is a horrible example of a balanced game Thunder players were flopping and were awared the fouls. Like Talen said there have been bad calls on both sides people just don't want to see Lebron or the Heat win the Title so their only excuse is to blame the ref for helping the Heat.
# 10 fsufan4423 @ Jun 18
The officiating has been bad in all the series . I hope the Heat win, but look at game seven with Garnet! Jeff Vangundy spent the whole game saying how Garnet has played the same style for 15 years and now they decide to call these fouls.

I think Lebron has more respect, which means more calls going his way.
# 11 DirtyJerz32 @ Jun 18
The phrase flopping should be hand in hand with the Heat. All Lebron and Wade do is constantly complain when they don't get calls. You wouldn't see Maqic, Bird, Jordan or Bill Russell complaining like that.
# 12 TalenT @ Jun 18
Jerz...Let me just ask you this. Do you hate LeBron? You continue to bad mouth JUST the Heat when in reality BOTH teams flop. Have you seen these guys Harden, Fisher & Collison??? They flop just as much. I'm not saying that you do but a lot of people hate LeBron so much they're blinded to see things clearly.
# 13 DirtyJerz32 @ Jun 18
I don't hate Lebron. The only people I hate are the all Patriots and Redsox players. I dislike the way he went to Lebron, but I don't hate him.
# 14 primrtime @ Jun 19
Hmm. Every team flops but it seems like the heat benefit from flopping more than any other team in the league. These calls this series are clearly one sided. The final seconds of game 2, Lebron fouls KD clearly in front of a ref. No call. Game 3 Sef steals the ball from Wade goes up for a dunk get's hit on his head (pause) and arm. No and 1. Joey Crawford is playing better Def. on KD than James.
# 15 CoRRuPTMiND93 @ Jun 19
for people blaming the refs for OKC losing the last two games should be ashamed of themselves. OKC had a chance to win both of these games, they just didn't get it done. for example GM 3, OKC has a 10 point lead, with their best player in foul trouble, but they Battier and James Jones on 3pt shots. MIA cuts the lead to 4, swings the momentum back in their favor and the rest is history. Also James Harden has not been his productive self this series, which is a big blow to OKC. I admit bad calls are happening, but they are going both ways. I remember in gm 1 or 2 when they called a foul on Mario Chalmers and in the replay he didn't make ANY contact at all with the shooter.

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