LOS ANGELES — After logging 40-plus mins for the fourth time this month handiest to look the Los Angeles Lakers lose 127-124 in overtime to the Washington Wizards on Monday evening, LeBron James insisted he can deal with the workload that is being requested of him.
“I believe this entire narrative of ‘LeBron needs more rest’ or I will have to take more rest or I will have to take time right here, it is turn into so much larger than what it in truth is,” James stated. “I’ve by no means mentioned it, I do not speak about it, I do not consider in it. We all want more rest, s—. This is a quick turnaround from closing season, and all of us want we can have more rest. But I’m right here to paintings, I’m right here to punch my clock in and be to be had to my teammates.
“And if I’m harm or if I’m now not feeling neatly, then we will be able to take a look at it then. But I’ve not anything however fair folks [advising me], however I’m additionally fair with myself, as neatly, and me having a love for the sport and me with the ability to be to be had to my teammates is more necessary than anything else.”
James performed 43 mins in opposition to the Wizards and gathered 31 issues, 13 assists and 9 rebounds, however he admitted he wasn’t his sharpest.
He performed all however one minute and 6 seconds of the fourth quarter and extra time and scored 13 issues, however he shot 6-for-13 in doing so (0-for-Four from 3) and had 4 of his game-high 8 turnovers throughout that time span. He additionally went 1-for-Three from the loose throw line, together with a leave out on an and-1 try that would have put L.A. up by one with 9.eight seconds final within the fourth quarter.
“Obviously, I take complete accountability [for] lacking that loose throw,” James stated. “I were given to make the loose throw up there; it is a very simple level for us. But we did not lose the sport there. But I take that accountability, evidently, and I were given to be higher.”
For the primary month and a part of this season, Lakers trainer Frank Vogel used to be definitely higher at managing the 18-year veteran’s mins. Prior to February, James averaged 33.Three mins in line with sport — which ranked 43rd within the league and represented the least quantity of enjoying time in his occupation, in step with knowledge compiled by ESPN Stats & Information.
Since the beginning of the month, on the other hand, James has averaged 38.2 mins in 11 video games — probably the most within the NBA — and L.A. is beginning to combat, having misplaced 4 out of its previous 5 video games since Anthony Davis annoyed his Achilles tendinosis whilst struggling a calf pressure in his proper leg in opposition to the Denver Nuggets.
“I’m now not pushing myself,” stated the 36-year-old James, who has performed in all 32 of L.A.’s video games this season. “I would not say that. I’m going out and enjoying the sport. I’m doing my activity, and I’m seeking to do it at a excessive stage, however that’s been a story across the league.
“I’ve by no means requested for day off or time during the season. And it is rising to some extent the place it is not even coming from me anymore. It’s similar to, ‘OK, LeBron will have to take day off’ or ‘Why is his workload at this?’ I’ve been listening to it for 5, six, seven years now, and I’m nonetheless going sturdy. So I do not want a handout, I’m now not on the lookout for a handout; my activity is to move out when I’m to be had, when I’m wholesome to move out and play, and that’s what it is all about.”
James hasn’t ever performed this condensed of a agenda, coming off only a 71-day offseason, on the other hand.
Vogel used to be requested if he has thought to be keeping James out of the lineup with a view to stay the Lakers’ captain contemporary, with a repeat identify being the workforce’s final purpose.
“We’ve thought to be that all season lengthy with him. And we will make the ones choices on a game-by-game foundation,” Vogel stated.
L.A. guard Alex Caruso likened the Lakers’ present slide — a season-long three-game shedding streak whilst lacking Davis and level guard Dennis Schroder — to the four-game skid L.A. had a few 3rd of the best way into closing season. And Lakers heart Montrezl Harrell stated the workforce’s struggles will reason “numerous soul-searching.”
As for James, the guts and soul of the protecting champions, Vogel lauded the activity he is doing, even whilst losses are beginning to pile up.
“He’s a workhorse,” Vogel stated. “He’s doing the whole thing he can for us.”