LeBron James says he’ll ‘be fine’ after heavy workload against Pacers
LeBron James averaged a whopping 41.4 minutes per game in a first-round series win over the Indiana Pacers. Despite the heavy workload, however, James stressed he’s no worse for wear heading into the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Eastern Conference semifinals match-up with the Toronto Raptors.
James admitted to feeling “burnt” following Cleveland’s tough seven-game showdown with the Pacers. But the Cavaliers arguably needed James to exhaust every ounce of energy simply to eke out the series win. To wit: James scored 36 percent of the Cavaliers points in he series win over the Pacers, per Cleveland.com, while shooting 16 percentage points better than all of his teammates.
James, however, downplayed any notion that logging big minutes in the first round will have any detrimental effect on him beginning Tuesday night in Game 1 at Air Canada Centre.
“I’ll be all right,” James said at shootaround Tuesday morning, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I’ll be fine.”
James also declined to agree with the characterization that the minutes were or will become an issue.
“It wasn’t an issue,” James said. “It’s what I had to do to help us get to the second round. And we’re worried about the second round now that we’re here.”
It’s certainly not surprising to hear James say such things. That said, the Cavaliers appear inclined to at least monitor James’ usage in the second round given how the star appeared gassed at times against the Pacers.
“Just got to be smart about the situation,” Lue said. “I know he wants to play and play a lot, but we’ve got to be smart because we play every other day, so there’s not a lot of time really to recover.
“… [He looks tired] just after the game, but not during the game. I think his mental toughness — just being mentally prepared, not giving in to fatigue — is a big part of who he is.”
James was outstanding as always against the Pacers, averaging 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Suffice to say, the Cavaliers will need another superhuman effort out of James to have only hope of beating the East’s top-seeded Raptors.