Jae Crowder explains why he wanted to guard 'greatest player in our league' in LeBron James during playoffs - Lakers Daily

Jae Crowder explains why he wanted to guard ‘greatest player in our league’ in LeBron James during playoffs

Jae Crowder and LeBron James Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder got the better of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James in their first-round matchup in the 2021 playoffs.

Though James played well at certain moments in the series, the Suns won the series handily in six games.

During a recent podcast appearance, Crowder was asked how it felt going into games knowing that he would guard James. The veteran recalled trying to make it difficult for the four-time MVP and explained why he relished the opportunity to go against a player of James’ class.

“I’m up for the challenge,” Crowder said. “I don’t know what else to say. I mean, I wanna guard the best player because I wanna give my team the chance to win. I feel like I do a good job of just making it tough. I don’t stop anybody. It’s tough to stop a guy in this league with the way we score and the way the league is scoring. But you wanna make it as tough as possible on and be an a-hole sometimes, and I’m able to do that here and there. But obviously, LeBron is a great player. He’s the greatest player in our league right now. I just wanted to make it as tough as possible for him and get him frustrated a little bit and, hopefully, things would go our way. I think that’s what happened.”

It seems that James has Crowder’s respect after a tough first-round battle.

At 36 years old, the 17-time NBA All-Star did everything he could to carry the Lakers in the first round. He averaged 23.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.0 assists in the six-game series.

Unfortunately, his production was not enough, and the 2020 NBA champions saw their bid to defend their title end rather quickly.

Los Angeles now faces an offseason with a lot of questions to answer.