Having vanquished Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the Playoffs, LeBron James now has to through DeMarre Carroll.

A “locked in” James says he’s looking forward to the challenge of figuring out the Atlanta Hawks‘ defensive schemes in the Eastern Conference Finals beginning Wednesday night.

The Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in three of their four regular season meetings.

Per the NEOMG:

“They’re similar in their own ways,” James said after practice Monday. “The best thing about it is they have some very active bigs behind them. It gives them the ability to push up on me and trust that those bigs behind them are going to protect them. […] I relish the challenge, I love the challenge in both of them.”

 

James, who is 6-8, averaged 26.2 points, 11 rebounds, and 8.8 assists against the Bulls in the semifinals. But Butler, who is a skilled defender moving laterally and tried to limit James’ space wherever possible, bothered him into shooting 61-of-153 (39.9 percent). […] Carroll plays a similar style of defense to Butler, and will rely on help from Paul Millsap and Al Horford when James is on the move — like Butler looked to Joakim Noah.

 

James averaged nearly 24 points in three games against the Hawks during the regular season, but committed nine turnovers in a loss in Atlanta on March 6 with Carroll hounding him. […] On Monday, James pointed out he was leading the league in turnovers during the postseason with 4.6 per game. James had seven and eight turnovers in Games 3 and 4 against Butler.