Oh, LeBron James.

The man detested in Boston because he, well, he's very good, he used to lose to Boston a lot and more recently he's beaten them a whole lot. In this city, sports hate really is that simple.

Maybe one thing Celtics fans can at least respect about James though is that he's taking a page from one of the greatest players in Celtics history: Larry Bird.

Last night, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant had another night for the ages. He scored 46 points on a ridiculous 17-25 shooting. As you see in the graphic above, Durant has been on a tear recently.

It's caught the attention of LeBron, who defeated Durant's Thunder in the Finals two years ago. It's hard to call that year LeBron's coming out party, but it was certainly a huge milestone for him. Game 6 in the TD Garden, LeBron James missed only seven shots on his way to 45 points. Like Bill Buckner's ball through the legs (sorry!) it technically didn't end the series, but we all knew deep down that it did.

James then moved on to take on Durant's Thunder in the finals, eventually earning his first ring in five games. Still, ever since LeBron seems to have had his eye on Durant. The level of his obsession was revealed last night when immediately after a victory over the Celtics, James was able to recite Durant's stats off the top of his head.

(Tweet from Spears has since been deleted, for some reason. Thanks to BlackSportsOnline I scavenged this)
Bron James recited Kevin Durant’s statistics from tonight verbatim off the top of his head. “I got a KD watch on my phone,” LeBron said.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 22, 2014

Hmm? An MVP candidate maniacally tracking another MVP candidate...remind you of anyone?

“The first thing I would do every morning was look at the box scores to see what Magic [Johnson] did," once said Larry Bird. "I didn't care about anything else.”

Could LeBron-Durant turn into this generation's Bird-Magic?

It'll be tough to beat that rivalry, especially the bitterness between those two that dated back to college.

LeBron, while competitive as hell, doesn't have that mean streak in him necessarily. Just ask Kobe Bryant.

"They don't seem to want to talk any trash. I say everything to LeBron. He says nothing back. He just laughs," said Bryant back in February of last year. "There's no banter back and forth. I guess it's a generational thing. When I first came into the league, the trash talk was downright cutthroat."

Kevin Durant is also the nicest guy in sports. So, don't expect a ton of bad blood between these two.

This "friendly" rivalry may still be the closest we get to what Bird had with Magic and, if nothing else, it should make for one hell of an NBA finals if they meet again.

Michael Saver 1/22/2014 11:53:00 AM Edit
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