Lakers’ LeBron James: Facing Suns’ Chris Paul In Playoffs Is ‘Beautiful Thing’
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers begin their championship repeat efforts on Sunday against Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. While this series has intrigue for plenty of reasons, it’s perhaps the relationship between both team’s stars that could be one of the main storylines.

James and Paul make up half of the NBA’s most famous friend group. Those two, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade have long been known for their close bond. Despite that — and both of them being in the NBA for over 15 years — James and Paul have never met in a postseason series until now.

When the Lakers and Suns face off on Sunday, James will be ready to compete against one of the players he has rooted for the most. “It’s a beautiful thing. We’ve been playing this game at such a high level for a long time. I’ve always rooted for him, D-Wade and for Melo to succeed. I had an opportunity to play against Melo in the playoffs a few times. I never got a chance to play against D-Wade in the postseason, but we had a great four-year run in Miami.

“So it’s going to be pretty cool to be on the same floor and competing with one of the most fierce competitors that this game has had over his career and look forward to the matchup.”

James and Paul have played one another 28 times during their careers, with all happening during the regular season. James is 15-13 against his friend and will be looking to extend that advantage over a seven-game series.

Obviously, there will be other very interesting plotlines in this series. The Anthony Davis-DeAndre Ayton matchup will be incredible, Devin Booker will face some of his toughest defensive tests in players like Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and a continued rivalry between James and Jae Crowder.

However, nothing will be quite like seeing James and Paul face off for the first time when the stakes are this high. Luckily, it’s as exciting for them as it will be for fans to witness.

Complete schedule details for Lakers-Suns

The first game of the series will take place in Phoenix at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sunday, May 23 at 12:30 p.m. PT. The second game will also be in Phoenix just two days later on Tuesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. PT.

The series will then shift to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4 at Staples Center. The first of which will take place on Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. PT with Game 4 then happening on Sunday, May 30 at 12:30 p.m. PT. Should the series continue beyond that, Game 5 will be in Phoenix on Tuesday, June 1, Game 6 will be Thursday, June 3 in Los Angeles and a Game 7 would take place on Saturday, June 5 in Phoenix.

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