“You’re asking LeBron James in March to give me NBA Finals Game 2-type performances”

LeBron James has been logging ridiculous minutes for the LA Lakers, but that effort has not translated to the victories they desperately need.

At this point, former NBA player Jay Williams wishes someone like Pat Riley was available within the Lakers organization to help lessen LeBron’s minutes.

The four-time NBA champ played 45 minutes in the 139-130 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. James, who has said he needs rest to fully recover from his knee soreness, will likely not get much for the remainder of the season.

The Lakers (28-37) are fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament and will need all their big hitters on the floor. With Anthony Davis out and Russell Westbrook not at his best, the heavy lifting will be left to James.

On the “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” podcast, the crew debated how LBJ should approach the rest of the season. Williams believes it is time for James to slow down and look forward to next season.

“LeBron James against the (Golden State) Warriors (on Saturday) plays 39 minutes, goes for 56 points, has an incredible game,” Williams said. “But due to knee soreness, he has to take the following game off. He then follows his next game against the last-place team in the league and plays 45 minutes.

“The last time LeBron is taking 31 shots and 13 free-throw attempts is 2015, when my man was 30 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. You combine that with him playing 45 minutes last night, you’re asking LeBron James in March to give me NBA Finals Game 2-type performances and effort in March to fight for a ninth or 10th seed.

“This is sometimes why I wish LeBron James had a guy like Pat Riley. Have somebody that can tell LeBron James, ‘Hey, look, we’re gonna lessen your minutes today, because we are thinking long-term.'”

Much blame has gone to James for his role in putting this team together. Although the Lakers’ struggles rub off negatively on LBJ, Colin Cowherd believes his legacy of him is safe regardless.

LeBron James has averaged the third-most minutes per game so far this season

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook and forward LeBron James (6)

LeBron James is now No. 2 in all-time minutes including playoffs. He is around 3,500 minutes away from Kareem, which he will catch next season. https://t.co/bfPLihSkIf

The Lakers’ reliance on James is mind-boggling even with the caliber of players they have on the roster. Russell Westbrook’s acquisition was primarily to have an elite-level player to run the show when LeBron is unavailable. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, that has not turned out the way the organization hoped.

Hopefully for the Lakers, the strain does not get too much for LeBron to handle. He has been more injury-prone recently, which is why rest is advisable.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein


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