During the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder was somewhat of a villain. He was disliked by Lakers fans due to his physical play on LeBron James, oftentimes taking hard fouls a bridge too far.
The referees agreed as he received multiple technical fouls and ejections during the series.
With the Suns now in the Western Conference Finals awaiting their opponent, Crowder had some time to reflect on the first round and what happened against the Lakers. The Suns forward has never been one to apologize or anything of that nature, but he did view the series through a much different lens when discussing his mentality on defense.
He spoke about guarding James and what his strategy was, while also being very complimentary of the Lakers superstar during an appearance on ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby:
“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.”
Given how much of a pest Crowder was during the series, it’s certainly interesting to hear him give such an immense amount of respect to James. Lakers fans would not have given him the same level of courtesy after a raucous first-round series.
James made very little mention of Crowder during the series, but perhaps these comments will change his viewpoint of the Suns’ hard-nosed wing who was a former teammate of his in Cleveland.
James named to All-NBA Second Team
One of the things that makes James so great as a player is his ability to impact the game even when he’s less than 100%. This was certainly the case for a majority of the season. However, he still managed to be named to the All-NBA Second Team.
This is somewhat of a consolation prize for James after being a leading MVP candidate prior to his ankle injury. Being on the Second Team is a continuation of greatness from the Lakers superstar.
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