This is one of greatest superstar duels of LeBron's career

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LeBron James has lived through many NBA Finals games in which he’s played great and lost. It’s one of the stories of his career.

But the Game 5 duel James staged with Jimmy Butler in the Miami Heat‘s season-saving 111-108 victory Friday over the Los Angeles Lakers instantly goes in the pantheon of his career showdowns.

Before Friday night, James’ greatest man-on-man heavyweight-style match was with Paul Pierce, still the most tenured of all James’ rivals, in Game 7 of the 2008 conference semifinals. James scored 45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ 92 points that Sunday afternoon in Boston. Pierce had 41, the two players guarding each other, getting to their sweet spots and one-upping big plays all while holding, pushing and cursing. The Celtics won by five.

But that one probably goes down a peg after this James-Butler show. These two were brilliant in going chest to chest all night, culminating in a climax in the final three minutes in which they traded off scoring on six consecutive possessions. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were on the James vs. Pierce broadcast 12 years ago, and they were there again Friday to call a

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