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When Kevin Durant Went Up Against Kobe Bryant In His Playoff Debut

The year was 2010 and a new star in the NBA was ready to be unleashed to the world. His name was Kevin Durant, who represented the newest franchise in the league: the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was Durant’s third season in the NBA and he, along with Russell Westbrook, made their first All-Star appearances that season. With the help of other young role players such as James Harden, Jeff Green, and Serge Ibaka, the Thunder cruised to 50 wins, tying the Blazers and Spurs for a 3-way tie for the 6th seed in the west. Tiebreaker results would push the Thunder down to the 8th seed and set up a matchup with the reigning champs, the Lakers.

The young Thunder team was not phased by the aura and mystique of the Lakers, as they showed that they were a formidable matchup. In a tough fought game 1, the Lakers were able to hang on in the 4th quarter, coming out with a 87-79 win.

But the takeaway from the game was Durant, who led the game in scoring with 24 points, and added 6 rebounds. Kobe, on the other hand, put up 21 points to lead the Lakers to victory.

It set the tone for the rest of the series, as OKC pushed the Lakers to the brink. L.A. would eventually win the series in game 6, on a 95-94 nail-biter.

While the Lakers would ultimately repeat as champions that year, beating the Boston Celtics in the Finals, the Thunder had officially made their mark in the NBA for years to come.

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