lebron james

The Eastern Conference finals between the plucky Indiana Pacers and top-seeded Miami Heat is giving NBA fans a battle with all the hallmarks of a classic series, including a fierce duel between two red-hot players.

Miami’s LeBron James, the top player in the league today, was always going to be the key figure in the 2013 playoffs but Indiana’s Paul George has emerged as the young pretender to his crown with the best-of-seven series tied at 1-1.

Toward the end of Indiana’s 97-93 road win on Friday in which James carried a strangely misfiring Heat team with a game-high 36 points, the 23-year-old George delivered game-winning defense against the Heat star to add to his 22 points.

There were moments where the play between the two truly took on the nature of a duel, none more so than a wild sequence in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

Moments after George beat James en route to powering home a highlight-reel dunk, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, facing George, responded with a three-pointer to close the quarter and cut Indiana’s lead to 76-74.

James, 28, then slapped hands with George and, according to the Pacers forward, said: “I got you back young fella.”

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters