If anyone knows how it feels to lose to LeBron James in the Playoffs, it’s DeMar DeRozan. But despite this 2-12 record against him, DeRozan has nothing but respect for James. While making an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast, he talked about LeBron and his greatness.
DeRozan talked about how he tough it is to beat LeBron. “For years I always got so much flak. People don’t realize it’s tough to get past this motherf**ker. I don’t care who you are. To see him come to the west and be able to do the same thing it’s a testament to his greatness and his IQ of the game.”
LeBron James: Toronto’s biggest nemesis
Later he shared an incident from the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals where he was blown away by LeBron’s IQ. DeRozan and the Raptors had made their first-ever Conference Finals appearance and they were facing LeBron’s Cavaliers.
He said, “I remember it was a play we were trying to run when our teammates forgot the play and LeBron told him the play. It was some crazy stuff. We call a play and he (teammate) was like ‘What’ and Bron told him what our play was. It’s a testament to who he is, why he has been to 10 Finals, and why he is on the verge of getting his fourth ring.”
The Raptors have faced the Cavaliers thrice in the Playoffs, and LeBron got the better of them every time. In the 14 playoff games he has played against them, LeBron averaged 31.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists while shooting 58% from the field. This dominance led to the Toronto Raptors being nicknamed as “LeBronto.”
Raptors find success after LeBron leaves the East
Last season was the first time that LeBron wasn’t playing in the Eastern Conference. And luckily for the Raptors, they had probably their best team of all time, which eventually took them all the way to the title. Had LeBron still been in the East, it could have been a different story. But the Raptors made the most out of the opportunity they got.
After winning thrice with Eastern Conference teams, LeBron is now winning away from winning the title with a Western Conference team. 3-1 up against the Miami Heat with the Lakers, he will be expected to win the title now. Even at 35, LeBron is showing no signs of stopping. He is bound to win Finals MVP if the Lakers win the championship.