The Old Man and the Greek: N.B.A. Tale Only Needs a Great Ending

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Wes Matthews, the 33-year-old forward and guard, was charged with guarding James this night. He succeeded, as much as anyone could, in bewitching the league’s reigning grand old man. One minute he bumped with James, the next he backed off and switched. “It’s a tremendous honor,” he said of guarding James.

Did you and James, I asked, chatter during the game? Matthews nodded his head. “Most definitely, LeBron and me have a history,” he said. “He’s 17 years in the league and I’ve got 11 years. It’s a lot of banter, man.”

These teams have a not-dissimilar architecture. Each has a couple of

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