Kevin Durant looked like the NBA’s best player in Game 2, but he’s not there yet

Kevin Durant looked like the NBA’s best player in Game 2, but he’s not there yet

We need to get one thing straight, NBA friends: LeBron James is still the best basketball player on the planet.

The King had 29 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists and three steals in a Game 2 loss to the Golden State Warriors where he got zero help from anyone other than Kevin Love. It was one of the best games we’ve seen from LeBron in the Finals — a performance the Cleveland Cavaliers turned around and wasted.

For any other player, such a performance would be cause for pride, if not celebration, despite the loss. For LeBron, such a failure meant answering questions about what’s wrong with his team and how they can possibly stop the Warriors from here.

That’s how lofty a standard LeBron has set for himself through the ages. We expect perfection, or else we prepare to devour a legend.

Kevin Durant, meanwhile, stuffed the stat sheet on Sunday night with a game -high 33 points on 13-for-22 shooting, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and five blocks. He was just two swipes away from the first Finals 5×5 in modern NBA history. And with his Warriors crushing the Cavaliers for the second straight game, a specific hot take popped up following Game 2: KD, not LeBron, is the best NBA player in the world.

Yes, optics can be a funny thing in professional sports.

None other than Paul Pierce posited as much in his postgame analysis, lending a champion’s expertise to that opinion. You can understand why. In Game 2, Durant played at the very peak of his powers. He roasted the nets from deep, ran the floor…