Poor Steve Nash.
Poor Sasha Pavlovic.
Poor Ron Artest, or Metta World Peace, or whatever he calls himself these days.
Poor, well, any person who gets in LeBron James’s blazing, bulldozing path of late.
Poor Nicolas Batum, too.
As the Portland forward explained to The Oregonian after Miami’s 117-104 victory Monday night, “You have to guard him close, you have to play him tough and we did that. But, I mean, we’re just human. He’s not.”
So, where does all of this leave Kevin Durant, the man who must match up with – and at the minimum, match – James on Thursday night in Oklahoma City?
Should we say poor Kevin Durant, too?
Perhaps.
On the surface, Durant would appear to have everything – talent, wealth, youth and a strong supporting cast that lets the Thunder arrive at this latest encounter with a record superior to that of James and Miami. Durant has improved his scoring average, assist average, steals average, turnover average and shooting percentages from the line, field and 3-point line.
So what’s the issue?
That a friend stands firmly in the way of team achievement and individual accolades?
No, it’s that a friend keeps moving all the targets, inching it ever higher and higher up the hill.
“I want to keep getting better,” James has repeatedly said.
He keeps delivering upon that desire.