Lakers star LeBron James’ 31-minute night in Game 1 caps off freshest postseason yet
The King looks as fresh as he can be at the moment, even though the Lakers have already reached the Western Conference Finals.
A big reason for his fresh legs is the fact that he has only logged in an average of 33.5 minutes prior to the West Finals, which is a first in his remarkable career.
Shortly after the Lakers’ 126-114 dismantling of the Nuggets in Game 1 on Friday, Ben Golliver of The Washington Post noted that James hasn’t really played his usual heavy minutes in this offseason.
LeBron James has averaged 40+ MPG in 11 of his 14 postseason runs, but he's topped 40 MPG just once in 2020 playoffs.
– Lakers will improve to 9-2 in bubble playoffs & needed just 31 minutes from LBJ in Game 1 blowout win over Nuggets. pic.twitter.com/gzQY6HwDHT
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 19, 2020
LeBron James has certainly gotten the chance to rest and recuperate immensely due to the Purple and Gold’s dominant run in the postseason so far. The Frank Vogel-mentored team has made quick work of its opponents in the first two rounds, eliminating the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets by way of a gentleman’s sweep.
James hasn’t had this kind of luxury in his earlier years, as he shouldered the load and practically carried his old teams when the postseason arrives. The four-time MVP has figured in several long playoff runs, including an incredible eight consecutive Finals appearances from 2011 to 2018. All in all, James only missed the playoffs thrice in 17 seasons.
Friday’s game is another great indication of how things have changed for James, as the Lakers cruised to another easy win despite his rather timid outing. LeBron only had 15 points on 11 field goal attempts as he focused on setting up his teammates to the tune of 12 assists. He didn’t have to do much scoring either, as Anthony Davis had that part covered with his 37-point explosion.
As great as LeBron James continues to be, he is indeed getting up in age and needs to tone down those minutes in the coming years. A fresh James is indeed what the Lakers need to get that 17th championship banner this season.