Sportress of Blogitude

LeBron James set to ‘hit the switch’ following All-Star break

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LeBron James came out storming in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first game following the All-Star break, outscoring the Chicago Bulls 8-2 in the opening minutes of Thursday night’s game on the way to a near triple-double in a 106-95 victory.

It could be reasonably surmised that James’ 25-point, nine-rebound, nine-assist stat line in the win was solely inspired by him wanting to set the tone early on before exacting revenge upon a Bulls team that has beat the Cavaliers already on two occasions this season.

And while that may be the case in part, another component of James’ outstanding performance is that he often uses the All-Star break as the time he decides it’s time to switch gears and turn it on for the regular-season home stretch.

“Second half of the season, it’s just my mindset,” James said, via cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “That’s all.”

The statistics seem to back up James’ assertion that he flips the switch post-All-Star break, albeit by a minuscule margin.

Over his career, James averages 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 6.9 assists before the break. After the unofficial midseason point, his career averages are slightly better in two categories: 27.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists (per Basketball-Reference).

But just because he seemingly becomes more focused, more driven and perhaps plays slightly better from a statistical standpoint as the regular season winds down and playoff chatter ramps up doesn’t mean James isn’t keenly aware of the potential pitfalls of pushing himself too hard before the postseason even begins.

“I want to continue to do the speed limit,” James said Thursday. “I don’t want to get a ticket. But I’ve always kind of hit the switch at the start of the second half of the season. I’m a 13-year vet, I’m not about to burn out for 82 games. I’m smarter than that. I know what my body does, I know when it gets into form. And I feel really good right now.”