Tyronn Lue argues LeBron James has prepared for heavy workload
LeBron James has continued to shock fans and pundits with his play in this postseason, trotting a 45-point performance on a Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers to secure the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ticket to another best-of-seven affair with the Toronto Raptors.
Yet critics have grown concerned with the massive workload that he’s tasked himself with after poor contributions from his teammates.
James played a game-high 43 minutes on Sunday’s win, making it the sixth time in seven games in which he’s played 40 or more minutes — the exception? A 31-minute stint during a 121-87 rout in the Pacers’ favor — a game already out of hand by the third quarter.
Asked if his star’s body could take the toll of doing so, head coach Tyronn Lue noted James had been battle-tested for such a workload.
“That’s why you play the minutes throughout the course of the season the way he does: When these types of situations happen, you’re prepared for them,” Lue said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “So he’s used to playing 41, 42 minutes and being able to take it with his body and still be able to produce. A lot of guys, they get in the playoffs, they’re not used to playing that many minutes, and then it being a high-intensity atmosphere, it’s kind of hard for those guys to perform. So he does a great job of taking care of his body, a great job of conditioning himself for these types of situations.”
James had a scare in the third quarter, forced to go into the locker room for treatment after 35 minutes of play — after having vowed to play the entirety of 48 minutes on the floor the day before.
While The King has proved to be a freak of nature, he admitted to being burnt out after trotting these consecutive performances — having notched three 40-plus-point games in the series.
“I’m burnt right now,” James said. “I’m not thinking about Toronto right now until [Monday]. I’m ready to go home. Can we? I’m tired. I want to go home.”