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LeBron James: Nuggets series not a revenge mission for Lakers

LeBron James is not viewing the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff series against the Denver Nuggets as a revenge mission after they were swept by the same opponents in the postseason last year.

The Lakers go to Ball Arena on Saturday for Game 1 of their first-round matchup with the reigning NBA champions, who won all four games between the teams in the 2023 Western Conference finals.

When James won his fourth and most recent championship ring in 2020, meanwhile, it was the Lakers who managed a dominant 4-1 success over the Nuggets at the same stage of the playoffs.

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The rivals will meet a little earlier than usual this year, with the Lakers having navigated a Play-In game against the New Orleans Pelicans to clinch the West’s seventh seed on Tuesday.

Asked whether past meetings with the Nuggets would have any bearing on the upcoming series after practice on Thursday, James said: “I think you’re putting a little bit too much emphasis on it.

“This is our first-round matchup. I mean, we’re looking forward to the postseason, but I haven’t been looking forward to the rematch.

“The game is played how it’s being played, and this is the matchup. So we’re looking forward to that challenge.”

This will be James’ 17th campaign with a playoff appearance, with the NBA’s all-time leading scorer possessing an overall record of 182-100 in the postseason.

The 39-year-old says the Lakers are simply focused on carrying out their gameplan, adding: “It shouldn’t be personal at all.

“I think you allow yourself to get away from the gameplan when you make it too personal. We have a gameplan. You go out there and execute it and you live with the results.

“I just stay even-keeled. I’ve been in the postseason way too long to know that you don’t get too high off Game 1 or get too high over whoever the matchup is. You’ve got to just stay even-keeled.”

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