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LeBron James compares Chris Paul matchup to playing Draymond Green, Rajon Rondo

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When the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns begin their first-round series on Sunday, it will mark the first postseason matchup between LeBron James and Chris Paul.

However, James has competed against (and played with) two of the game’s great thinkers — Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo — numerous times in the postseason. During Friday’s post-practice media availability, James cited Green and Rondo as a point of reference when previewing the upcoming chess match against his good pal, Chris.

“It’s going to be comparable to playing against Rondo in a series, playing against Draymond in a series. You have those ‘out-of-this-world-IQ’-type guys and fierce competitors at the same time. So, it’s the same thing. Every time I faced Rondo in the past, I knew I had to be not only on my A-game as far as my game, but also my mind as well, and that’s the same with Draymond every time you go against those Warriors teams. I’ve had experiences with those two guys that will definitely help me in matching up with CP, because I know the competitor and I know the IQ of the basketball player he is.”

James has faced Green 21 times over four NBA Finals, with 15 going the way of Green and Golden State. This Wednesday, James and the Lakers overcame Green’s disruptive defending and eye-poking in their play-in game victory over the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron has gone up against Playoff Rondo on 25 occasions, winning 13. Of course, Rondo was a key member of the Lakers’ 2019-20 championship and was arguably Los Angeles’ third-best player in the bubble.

James owns a 15-13 head-to-head record against Paul in the regular season.

As for the state of his mental game ahead of the bout with CP3 and company, James had this to say:

“Obviously, I had a lot more time to rev up and build my body over the course of the season in the past, and with the six and a half, seven weeks, or whatever, I had to sit out, I didn’t get an opportunity to rev up and sharpen my sword. But I was able to mentally disconnect as much as I could. Obviously, for me, it was very stressful watching our games knowing how much I can help the ball club and not actually being out there, so as far as like, a mental break, I didn’t get much of that because I just wanted to be available to my guys and I couldn’t. But I’m ready. I’m prepared mentally.”

As for his ankle? James was terse: “I’m good. Ready to go on Sunday.”