James addresses dip in playing minutes this season.
Miami Heat star LeBron James insists that ‘nobody can stop’ Oklahoma City Thunder rival Kevin Durant without help, ahead of their meeting on Wednesday.
Durant has now gone 11 straight games with 30 points or more as he has undoubtedly taken the lead in the race for the MVP award this season.
The 25-year-old is currently averaging 38.5 points in his last 11 games, shooting 64 percent over his last six and guiding the Thunder to the best record in the Western Conference at 36-10, all without point guard Russell Westbrook for 21 games.
James has won the MVP trophy for four of the last five seasons, but even he conceded that there will be little argument if the award were to be announced today.
“Individually, he can’t be stopped by any 1-on-1 player,” James said, as reported by ESPN. “There’s nobody that can guard him 1-on-1.”
James also bemoaned the dip in playing minutes he has had this season, although he insisted that he respects coach Erik Spoelstra’s decisions as he is ultimately being managed across the season with the idea of being in peak condition for the post-season.
The two-time NBA champion is averaging the fewest points (26) since his rookie season, whilst having the lowest rebounds in seven years, the fewest steals and blocks of his career and fewer assists than last season.
Nevertheless, the two superstars of the league will face off on Wednesday night, where James will likely be guarding Durant at times.
The Thunder forward has outscored James in nine of their previous 16 meetings, but James’ teams are 13-3 in those games which included the 4-1 series victory in the 2012 Finals.
“I’m just going out there and having fun, man,” Durant said.
“I’m just trying to play. I’m not coming in saying, ‘I’ve got to do this.’ I’m not one of those guys that predetermines anything. I just go off how the game is played and the defense teams are throwing at me and just play and be aggressive that way. I’m just enjoying it and having fun with it and taking it a day at a time.”
Questions have recently been asked of the defensive effort from the Heat as they look to close the gap on the Indiana Pacers at the top of the Eastern Conference, but James knows that it will take a collective effort to at least limit Durant’s scoring.