The Los Angeles Lakers (1-1) defeated the Phoenix Suns (1-1) Thursday night at Crypto.com Arena in the first official battle between LeBron James and Kevin Durant since December 2018. They faced each other in preseason last week, but this time it was for real stakes.
James, 38, took over the contest down the final stretch of the fourth quarter to seal a 100-95 home victory. He nearly had a triple-double with 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Durant, 35, and James hugged each other after the game in a sign of respect between two legendary veterans.
KD did not have teammates Devin Booker or Bradley Beal on the floor with him against the Lakers after he and D-Book defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2023-24 NBA season opener Tuesday.
Durant finished the match with a game-high 39 points, outscoring the rest of his team’s starters combined.
Anthony Davis bounces back in a big way
Lakers star Anthony Davis received a ton of criticism after going scoreless in the second half of a loss to the Denver Nuggets in the season opener.
Davis, 30, bounced back in a huge way with a team-high 30 points and 12 rebounds, plus three blocks and three steals. He also scored four clutch free throws in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to ice the game and secure the victory.
Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell combined for 24 points, while Taurean Prince recorded a blank statline, except for one steal, in 18 minutes of action.
Lakers visit the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, while Suns host the Utah Jazz one day prior.