While the Los Angeles Lakers have won six straight, not all of the games have been pretty, particularly the last three.
Playing at home, the Lakers required double-overtime to defeat the last-place Detroit Pistons and then struggled to beat another lottery team in the Oklahoma City Thunder, again going to overtime in back-to-back games.
Winning is ultimately what is most important, but with the goal of repeating as champions in mind, it is certainly not ideal for players like LeBron James to be playing this many minutes so early into the season.
In the 18th year of his career, James has played in all 26 games to this point. With the last three going to overtime, he played 46, 42 and 41 minutes in those respective contests.
James is on record saying he never gets tired, but still, playing that many minutes has to be taxing on a 36-year-old’s body at some point. That becomes even more true considering he has had to carry the load offensively with Anthony Davis missing the last two games.
Despite that, Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder revealed that James actually enjoyed playing three straight overtime games.
“He told me he liked it that he played three overtime games. He said he’s got to get in shape and he’s liking it,” Schroder said. “Of course everybody is going to be a little tired, but it’s always great to get the W.”
Kyle Kuzma was also among those to marvel at what James is doing this season. “You heard from him, being tired is just in your head,” Kuzma said.
“If you put your mind to it, you don’t really see yourself getting too tired. That’s always been his mindset through his unbelievable career. That dude is a beast. He says he’s not tired and doesn’t get tired.”
Kuzma played a season-high 39 minutes in Wednesday night’s win over the Thunder, including the entire overtime period. That has not been the case in previous games though, so he isn’t feeling tired either.
“I mean, I haven’t really played that many big minutes. So for me, I’m kind of fresh,” he said. “That was my first overtime; I didn’t really play in all the other overtimes, so I’m fresh.”
Even if James and Kuzma don’t mind playing the extra minutes, the Lakers surely would benefit from taking care of business in regulation from here on out so they can conserve their legs for another championship run.
Vogel concerned about James’ minutes
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted to being concerned about James’ workload, even if he can handle it. “There’s always concern, but his body has been felling good,” Vogel began.
“These aren’t scripted plans to go to overtime each night and get him up to 40 minutes, but he’s going to be in there in those situations to win the game. We’ll rest him after the game by giving him off from media. One time he didn’t have to do media.
“That will give him the rest necessary. Obviously we’ll continue to evaluate how he’s feeling, his workload on a game-by-game basis, and make decisions on a game-by-game basis.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!