A disappointment last year in the Heat's six-game loss to Dallas, James has said he's been in a better frame of mind this season and is looking forward making up for his previous failure.
"I didn't play well. I didn't make enough game-changing plays that I know I'm capable of making and I felt like I let my teammates down," he said.
"I'm happy and I'm humbled that I can actually be back in this position less than 12 months later to do a better job of making more plays, more game-changing plays out on the floor on a bigger stage. So we'll see what happens."
Though their core of Durant, Westbrook, sixth man of the year James Harden and Serge Ibaka are all 23 or younger, the Thunder enter as the favorites in their first Finals appearance since moving to Oklahoma City from Seattle in 2008.
With signs backing the Thunder hanging from buildings throughout the city, Oklahoma City has watched Durant grow up from the player who arrived here as the rookie of the year. He received some guidance along the way from James, who reached out to him as a high school star and then invited him to his home in Akron, Ohio, to work out last summer.
"For me, I understood what the situation he was getting himself into being drafted as high he was, and the things that came with being drafted to a team that needed a marquee player or superstar," James said. "You know, from Day One I always lent my hand out to guide him if he needed it through anything, and that's on and off the floor, because to that point I seen everything, and I'm still learning but I've seen everyone on and off the floor.
"Our relationship is really good. Our relationship is going to continue to grow and I'm happy to be in this position where I can compete against him."
Only one can be considered the best player in the game, and it's probably the guy who walks out of this series as a champion.
"I think it's going to bring the best out of both of them, and it's going to be the best for the game," Wade said, "and it's going to be a great show."
Miami vs. Oklahoma City
Today: at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.
Thursday: at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.
Saturday: at Miami, 7 p.m.
June 19: at Miami, 7 p.m.
x-June 21: at Miami, 7 p.m.
x-June 24: at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.
x-June 26: at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.
x - if necessary
- Pac-12 commissioner 'delighted' that his...
- Utes notebook: Kyle Whittingham says Harvey...
- Ranking the best draft picks in Utah Jazz...
- Getting back up off the ground: Utahn...
- From autonomy to Harvey Langi: Tidbits from...
- Salt Lake City's Patrick Smyth reclaims...
- Brad Rock: Spring football not an answer to...
- Kyle Whittingham, players unfazed by media...
- Kyle Whittingham, players unfazed by... 112
- Dick Harmon: BYU, Pac-12 scheduling is... 88
- The original BCS busters: Looking back... 66
- BYU football: Cougars and expansion not... 52
- ACC media days has some interesting... 48
- Pac-12 commissioner 'delighted' that... 46
- Utes notebook: Kyle Whittingham says... 39
- Utah's better BCS buster, 2004 or 2008? 31