LeBron James suited up last night to take on the Orlando Magic. This was rather surprising appearance, especially considering he played 39 minutes in an overtime loss against the Sacramento Kings the night before. Additionally, at the start of the season, it was announced that the King was expected to play 28 to 30 minutes a night. Thus making his participation all the more bewildering.
Oct 30, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots a free throw basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
However, following the game, which ended in the Lakers’ favor, there was more criticism than concern. In particular, Skip Bayless, a notorious LeBron critic, took this opportunity to call out the four-time NBA Champion. On X(Formerly Twitter), Skip pointed out that LeBron wanted to pace himself this season. However, this plan seems to have been thrown out the window.
This prompted Bayless to further rub salt in the wound, bringing up the Lakers’ Playoff hopes. While he did seem to suggest that the Purple and Gold would reach the Playoffs, he did issue a warning. Given the King’s decision to play tonight, the UNDISPUTED host does not want to hear that he “ran out of gas” once the post-season rolls around.
Surprised LeBron is playing back to back tonight after 39 minutes last night in Sac. So much for pacing himself this season. But I don't want to hear in the playoffs that he "ran out of gas."
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 31, 2023
To be fair to Skip, it looks like the minutes’ restriction has been completely ignored. Barring the opening night fixture against the Denver Nuggets, LeBron has well exceeded 30 minutes a night. This could prove to be costly once all is said and done.
LeBron James played 33 minutes, helping Lakers win over the Magic
After a 39-minute performance against the Sacramento Kings, LeBron James suited up for 33 minutes against the Orlando Magic. With 19 points, three rebounds, and four assists, King James helped the Lakers secure victory in a 106-103 clash. It was a good performance, especially considering the Purple and Gold had back-to-back games.
It is still surprising to see the King put on his sneakers and dominate night in and night out at the age of 38. But this is more a problem for the Lakers than it is a boon. Without Bron on the court, the Lakers look desolate and struggle to perform. Their lack of production without their primary playmaker is abysmal.
If the Lakers have any hope of challenging for a title, they need to restrict LeBron’s minutes. But, despite planning for the same, they have not been able to execute it. As such, it would be in the team’s best interest to find a way to produce without the King on the court. Whether they will achieve that come the end of the season, only time will tell.