LOS ANGELES – In the midst of a resurgent season for both the Los Angeles Lakers as a successful franchise and LeBron James as a dominant player, James says he has no plans to miss the games due to managing loading in anticipation of a postseason run.
"If I'm hurting, I'm not playing. If not, I'm playing," James told ESPN as he knocked on the wooden façade of his locker after winning the Lakers & # 39; 95-80. The Miami Heat on Friday night. "That's always been my motto."
Load management was a hot topic in the NBA after the cohabitant of James & # 39; Staples Center, Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers, clashed with a national television network for the second consecutive week on Wednesday.
James, six years old and senior in the first major injury of his 17-year career last season when James suffered a torn groin, remains committed to the lawsuit as far as possible.
Both games that Leonard played were part of a back-to-back situation, with Leonard playing the other foot.
James did not want to discuss how his plan differed from Leonard's, which the league has identified as having a legitimate reason to sit down as he continues to manage a persistent patella tendon injury to his left knee.
"LeBron's healthy, playing LeBron. That's all I'm going to talk about," James said. "I'm not talking about anyone else but me."
James had 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, with six assists and four rebounds in Friday's win.
The Lakers, up to a 7-1 start thanks in large part to James' influence, are scheduled for their first back-to-back next week.
"Got a back-to-back Tuesday-Wednesday? Is Phoenix, [then] coming home against Golden State? I'm ready to go," James said. "What do you mean, 'How can I handle this?'
There was an internal discussion within the Lakers' coaching and training staff about how to find time to rest James, sources told ESPN. But James, who will be 35 next month, will welcome it.
"Talk to my coaches," James said. "You know how many times I and T-Lue (Tyronn Lue) came here to Cleveland when he wanted me to sit down and I wanted to play.
" I'm healthy, I'm playing. It probably took me a good 45 years to not play basketball. "
Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who accepted the job after negotiating with Lue this summer, said the team plans to protect James from overwork" as best we can. "
" Whether exercising the day or exercising his minutes, he will reduce his load, "Vogel said after Thursday's practice." There are some things that are built into the scheme-wise that require him to do – to pass some men in a few hours. In every way we can. "
James entered Friday's game with 26.1 points, a league-best 11.1 assists and 8.3 rebounds. He had three straight triple-doubles with the Lakers & # 39; 3-0 road trip. to tie the longest triple double of his career.
In addition, his defensive effort helped the Lakers jump to the top of the league in defensive efficiency early on. , "Vogel said Friday after James and the Lakers held the Heat to just 34 points in the second half." He gives everything to this team and really affects both ends of the floor. The biggest impact is probably how he sets a tone. He sets a tone for our group on how hard he plays on defense, how ready he is to pass the basketball offensively and clearly he has the ability to make big shots in the clutch. So, man is just incredible. "
Friday's win drew James and the rest of his team out of Saturday's practice – that's a way to build on his feet time.
And the win provides a platform. explain the hashtag "washed king" has embraced James on social media, as he relies on skeptics in his place in the game going into this season.
"This is my personal motivation," he said. of James. ”very compelling to put myself in a position where I knew I belonged.
"So, it's my personal motivation every single night that I walk on the floor to be good. I know the summer I have. I know the rehab I have. . "
James points to his shooting experience" Space Jam 2 "this summer to explain his commitment to the Lakers.
"I shot the 'Space Jam' for three months all summer. The morning was 6:30 am and I was at the gym like 3:30, 4:00 am." morning before shooting for 12, 13, 14 hours, "James said. "So, I just know how much I put on my craft, I know what's the main thing. Even as I shoot the movie, I know what's important. And that's what I'm preparing to do, and I've always had that is at the forefront of my mind. So it's just my personal pressure that I put on myself. Which, I don't really believe in the pressure of many, but I do believe in myself and I know what I can. "
James was asked how much his motivation was drawn directly from others using the actual word" wash "to describe him in his mid-30s.
"Well, I don't know, man," James says. "Meet me with the cleaners."