LeBron James on Christmas Day witnessed firsthand Kevin Durant’s continued evolution into a formidable force on the defensive end of the floor. And the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar believes that Kevin Durant now could very well be the best defensive small forward in the NBA.

“He’s right up there, if not the best,” James said of Durant following the Cavs’ 99-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors, via NBCS Bay Area. “Kawhi (Leonard) is up there.”

High praise, indeed.

Durant’s performance on James during the Christmas victory was not without controversy, as the NBA admitted Durant fouled James three times in the waning minutes of the game in its “NBA Officiating Last Two Minute Report.” That significant factor aside, Durant did limit James to 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting along with seven turnovers.

Durant addressed his rapidly improving defensive acumen as it relates to his performance against James after the win.