Mikal Bridges Opens Up on the Challenges of Guarding LeBron James During Lakers vs Suns Playoffs

Published 06/18/2021, 9:30 AM EDT
Jun 1, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts against the Phoenix Suns in the second half during game five in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Phoenix Suns have entered the NBA Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2010. Chris Paul has guided the team through his leadership and calming influence. The Suns defeated LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. This is the first time that James lost in the first round of a playoff series.

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While James entered the game as a wingman, Mikal Bridges had the duty to guard him. In a recent interview, Bridges reflected how the Suns as a team defended the Lakers.

May 27, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) scores over Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during the third quarter of game three in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Mikal Bridges playing without fear against LeBron James

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Bridges and the Suns are awaiting the winner from the Clippers-Utah series. But, the probability of Chris Paul losing games due to COVID protocols might make their journey harder. But the Suns have a lot of depth in their roster, with Cameron Payne and DeAndre Ayton performing well throughout the series.

Bridges spoke about the way he channelized his game by being aware of the fact that he was going to face King James.

“We know how tough it was going to be and you know you play a guy like LeBron, a guy like AD.

“The fact is us staying poised staying together and none of us being afraid of the moment. None of us being like yeah we know that’s LeBron, that’s AD.” said Bridges.

Mikal spoke about the confidence he had with the Suns to get past Los Angeles. For instance, the Lakers had a size advantage over the Suns; however, Booker and Paul proved to be a deadly duo on the court.

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What’s next for James?

While James is still searching for his fifth NBA title, the Lakers front office have their work cut of them, this offseason. Rob Pelinka is looking to freshen up his squad, for a title run come next year. There is a lot of deadwood to be cleared out for the franchise, because of the poor performances by some of the fringe players. Kyle Kuzma has not tapped into his potential of what he can become; while moving to a new franchise might improve his game.

But clearly, the most important person on the roster will be James.

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Despite getting older, nobody can deny the influence he has on the court. But, Anthony Davis will need to get fit next season, otherwise, their chances of winning an NBA title will look bleak.

Despite all the problems, the Lakers remain the team with the hottest tickets in town. Bron and Brow will come back stronger as they won the NBA title last season. To sum it up, the franchise will get back next season, and challenge for the title.

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Jacob Gijy

202 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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