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Houston - Kevin Durant wanted to set the record straight once and for all about his relationship with LeBron James.
"I hate him," he said before breaking into laughter.
Then he got serious.
"We're actually really good friends," he continued. "I think people want us to hate each other so bad just because we're battling against each other."
That doesn't mean he has any good feelings toward him when they pair face each other.
"I like the friendly competition, but when we're on the court we're the furthest thing away from being friends," he said. "We don't take it easy on each other."
That much was never more evident than when the two competed in last year's NBA Finals, which the Heat won in five games. James led his team in scoring in each game, and Durant paced the Thunder in all but Game 4.
Soon after that, the two met up once again to play for the U.S. in the Olympics in London.
"He's going to go down as one of the best of all time," Durant said about James. "I don't think anyone will be like LeBron James. I'm glad I get a chance to compete against him year in and year out, and I'm also glad I was on his team to win the gold medal."
James and the Heat beat Durant's Thunder 110-100 on Thursday night. James entered the game having scored 30 points with 60 percent shooting in an NBA-record six straight games.
James had 39 points in that game, but the Thunder took some solace in keeping him below 60 percent shooting.
"I'm glad we held him under 60, but he still shot 58 percent on us," Durant said. "But I'm glad his streak didn't continue. He's such a great player. He's somebody I look at as competition, and look at as a guy that I'm chasing every single day. Him and Kobe Bryant and Carmelo (Anthony), those are guys I look at and feel like I'm chasing and trying to be as good as them."
James said his relationship with Durant doesn't affect the competition at all.
"People always want to talk about the friendship me and KD have. It's a new era," James said. "It starts with how long we've been competing against one another since we were kids. You don't have to hate somebody to compete against somebody.''