Are the Los Angeles Lakers going to run out of gas before the start of the NBA Playoffs?
Even at the age of 38, LeBron James is playing like he is still in his prime. During their victory against the LA Clippers, LeBron’s name was once again entered into the record books once again as his 35 points are the most ever by any player in their 21st season.
Also considering the fact that he was being guarded by two of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, only makes this feat even more impressive. LeBron has had a total of 81 30-point games since turning 35 and is showing no signs of slowing down.
It’s unbelievable how LeBron is able to defy Father Time and how he is still capable of dominating at this level at this point in his career. In five games so far this season, he’s averaging 24.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game, and if he can avoid the injury bug, I wouldn’t be surprised to see LeBron keep up this level of consistency.
It seems as if Frank Vogel has reversed course on his original minute-restriction plan
The plan was for the Lakers to limit his minutes (especially down the stretch late in games) in an attempt to have him healthy and well-rested for times when they will need him the most but that hasn’t been the case so far due to the amount of close games the Lakers have competed in.
Truth be told, it appears that LeBron will more than likely be playing 30-plus minutes on a regular basis. Anthony Davis is more than capable of closing out games, but when LeBron goes to the bench, opposing defenses will focus solely on him and force other players to have to step up.
When LeBron is on the floor with Davis in the closing minutes of close games, it gives opposing teams two players to worry about with or without the ball. The superstar duo won’t just beat opponents off of talent alone but both of them are so cerebral that it’s almost impossible to double-team or try to cut off driving lanes.
LeBron is even more dangerous when he is forced to pass because he easily finds teammates for easy baskets. NBA players in this era are able to play at a higher level in their latter years and LeBron continues to set the bar high. Also, if the Lakers can continue to grow their confidence and keep improving their chemistry, this team will be one nobody will want to play against.
Davis and D’Angelo Russell have been more consistent as of late and their support has really helped. Russell’s scoring made a huge difference as he scored 27 against the Clippers. And the fact that Davis played a total of 48 minutes in the overtime win showed resiliency and toughness and is exactly what the Lakers need from him.
Concerns do abound whenever the Lakers stars play a high amount of minutes. As long as they all can avoid injuries and don’t get complacent, the Lakers should be fine. Frank Vogel will have to monitor minutes and usage carefully especially when they play on back-to-back nights.
The Lakers will have a couple of days off until they travel to Orlando to take on the Magic and their next back-to-back games won’t be until mid-November. If this team can continue on its current path and remain healthy, the Lakers should have a successful season.