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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

LeBron James will not rule out playing fewer minutes

LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers have only 18 games remaining to make up 5.5 games in the standings if they want to clinch a playoff spot, and LeBron James sounds like a man who is not all that confident he and his teammates can accomplish that.

Following Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, LeBron was asked if there will come a point down the stretch where he feels like he should be playing fewer minutes to protect his long-term health. He didn’t rule it out, noting that he will have a discussion with head coach Luke Walton about the Lakers’ chances of reaching the postseason.

The Clippers are currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and one of the teams the Lakers are chasing, so Monday night’s loss was a tough one. Fans at the Staples Center understood that, as they rained boos down on the “home team” for its latest poor performance.

James is averaging 35.7 minutes per game this season, which is lower than his career average of 38.6 but still a significant amount. He has dealt with some injuries this year and has people questioning his effort due to some odd plays lately, so you have to wonder if fatigue has been a factor. If the Lakers get to a point where they’re confident they won’t be making the playoffs, giving younger players more minutes and resting veterans like LeBron would make sense.

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