Dec. 25, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) look up for a rebound during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Heat vs. Thunder: Could Kevin Durant lose the MVP to LeBron James tonight?


All eyes will be on the NBA Finals rematch tonight when the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Miami Heat at 8 p.m. EST.

It’s the second time this season that the Thunder and Heat will play. The Heat won the first meeting in South Beach on Christmas Day 103-97.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant will be squaring off tonight and the MVP award may be on the line.

LeBron has been on an historic run and if he sweeps the season series vs. Durant and the Thunder, it will be tough for Durant to overcome.

Durant is right there in the MVP race this season and if he can outplay LeBron tonight and the Thunder win, he will be in prime position to win the award.

For most of the season so far, Durant was thought of as the frontrunner for MVP. The Thunder had a better record than the Heat and they looked improved from last season despite losing James Harden.

The biggest reason for this has been the development as Durant into more of an all-around player. Durant has a career-high 29.24 PER this season which isn’t that far behind LeBron’s league leading 31.29 PER.

Durant also has a chance to become just the seventh player in NBA history to shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line for an entire season. Right now he’s sitting at 51.9, 43.2 and 90.4.

If the Thunder end up with a better record than Miami and possibly the best record in the league, the MVP award will likely go to Durant. But even if they do that and if LeBron outplays Durant tonight and the Heat win, it will be hard to argue for KD over LeBron.

LeBron has been putting on a show during the Heat’s six-game winning streak that they have entering tonight’s game. During that stretch, he has scored at least 30 points in every game while shooting at least 60 percent from the field, something no one has ever done before.

This recent stretch has brought LeBron’s shooting percentage to an unfathomable mark of 56.5 percent on the season. He’s shooting a career-high 42.0 percent from beyond the arc as well.

Both Durant and LeBron are so close when it comes to this MVP race. Some will argue that LeBron is the best in the league and therefore the award is his. But Durant has made great strides this season and if he can prove that on any given night he can outplay LeBron and lead his team past the Heat, he will be just as deserving.

It’s not just a regular season game tonight. There is much more on the line. That includes the MVP award.

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