Going into the second night of a back-to-back on Monday, the status of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was unclear.
James has been bothered by knee pain for some time now and it won’t go away for as long as the season continues. But following Sunday’s contest against the Phoenix Suns, the soreness he was dealing with was enough for head coach Frank Vogel to label him a game-time decision ahead of Monday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
LeBron would not only suit up for the Lakers, but play a team-high 40 minutes. He would also deliver another impressive performance with 30 points and nine rebounds, but once again the Lakers fell behind big early to the Raptors and were unable to ever make a serious push late as they dropped their second consecutive game.
The Lakers were down 21 after the first quarter and were rarely within single digits for much of the game, which would cause many to wonder why James was on the court for that many minutes. While Vogel admitted that LeBron’s minutes are something he is always wary of, he didn’t believe the minutes were an issue on this night.
“Yeah, it’s always a concern. You feel the game out. There was enough stoppages. It’s not always the total minutes on here. It’s what kind of flow the game has and there was enough stoppages that we never left like he was being too taxed.”
Vogel was almost definitely in constant communication with LeBron on how he was feeling throughout the contest to ensure he didn’t put the Lakers star in any danger of worsening his knee issue. Vogel does also have a point in that the flow of the game did dictate that James stay on the court a little longer.
Even though the Lakers were ultimately unable to really cut into the lead as much as they wanted, there were multiple times the team seemed on the verge of getting back into the game and LeBron being on the court is essential to that. Unfortunately, every Lakers run was answered by a Raptors team playing some of its best basketball this season.
The Lakers under Vogel have always played it cautiously when it comes to injuries and that especially goes for the stars like James. All the team can hope for now is that with a day off, LeBron will be good to go for the start of this road trip.
James ‘at a loss for words’ after statistical milestone vs. Suns
Amidst the Lakers’ struggles this season, James has continued to make history throughout and that was the case in the team’s recent contest against the Phoenix Suns. LeBron became the first player in NBA history with 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists and he spoke about what the meant to him afterward.
“My teammates congratulated me after the game, my mom texted me, I believe she hit me at halftime, I saw it after the game. I get a loss for words anytime things like this happen to me just knowing where I come from,” James said.
“I automatically just start thinking about my hometown of Akron and my upbringing and where I come from. The dreams that I had of being in this league and playing at the highest level, and to now stand out in a statistical category in this league that I’ve really modeled my game after, being able to score, rebound and assist.”
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