Lakers LeBron James versus the Nuggets Mar 2, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives past Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) to score his 40,000th career point at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Playoffs have arrived, and one of the most intriguing first-round matchups features two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets squaring off with NBA all-time leading scorer LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch from last year’s Western Conference Finals.

Denver rolled through the Lakers in the series, pulling off a four-game sweep en route to the franchise’s first NBA championship. The Nuggets continued their success against Los Angeles in the regular season, winning all four of the meetings between the two squads.

The Lakers did get the better of the Nuggets in the 2020 Western Conference Finals, though, taking care of business in five games before going on to win a title of their own.

Despite the recent history between the teams, James doesn’t think it’s relevant this year and thinks the talk has been a bit much.

“I think you’re putting a little bit too much emphasis on it,” James told ESPN on Thursday. “This is our first-round matchup. I mean, we’re looking forward to the postseason. But I haven’t been, like, 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.”

James also pointed out that he doesn’t consider the two teams to have a rivalry. “It shouldn’t be personal at all. I think you allow yourself to get away from the game plan when you make it too personal. We have a game plan. You go out there and execute it and you live with the results. You got to just stay even-keeled.”

The series gets underway Saturday evening in Denver on ESPN.