LeBron James led all players with 30 points on 12-for-21 shooting in the Los Angeles Lakers’ crucial 108-102 overtime victory in their Western Conference opener on Tuesday that put the Minnesota Timberwolves they pack
James also had 10.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in his impressive 45-minute performance, marking his first game in which he played more than 40 minutes since February 4.
But did James show unusual signs of fatigue?
On a recent episode of his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” the Golden State Warriors star forward took it upon himself to discuss the outing of James, who also turned the ball over five times and committed five fouls.
“Bron made some very uncharacteristic passes,” Green said bluntly. “He looked gassed at times. I was really surprised. … We’ll see how it goes. … Ultimately, you never have to question whether LeBron is fit or not, but he looked a little tired.”
On Thursday’s “Undisputed,” Shannon Sharpe explained why he was pushed back by Green’s criticism, while not necessarily disagreeing with his comments about James’ fatigue being on full display Tuesday.
“LeBron James is 38 going into ’20,” Sharpe said. “How likely do you think [is] that Draymond Green — he just finished his 11th year — nine years from now, will he be able to play 45 minutes in a game? Not in a church league game, not in a YMCA game, not even in a pickup game at Lifetime Fitness, will Draymond Green be able to play 45 minutes in a game. … How many guys have been able to play 45 minutes in a game at 38 years old?”
“The mistakes that [James] they started making fatigue mistakes. … LeBron James has played nearly 1,700 ball games, averaging nearly 39 minutes per game, 38.6 minutes. Draymond has played 905 games; he averages less than 30 minutes per ball game, so you can see the difference. I’m not surprised at all because you’re asking the man to do something, especially at his age, that we haven’t seen before. … I’m surprised Draymond is surprised considering that … a man [who] has played both regular season and postseason basketball [James] he’s tired, he’s tired.”
James averaged 28.9 points on 50% shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game this season in 55 contests. Only once in the last decade has James averaged more points than that (30.3 PPG in 2021-22).
On the other hand, James’ 55 regular-season games are tied for the second-fewest games played in a single season (45 games in 2020-21 and 55 in 2018-19) in his 20-year career. career
Skip Bayless further defended James, saying Green “crossed a line” to sell his podcast.
“It felt off limits to me because LeBron doesn’t deserve this from Draymond, good or bad,” Bayless said. “What’s Draymond thinking? There’s just some loyalty here that he’s taking away from LeBron.”
The Lakers’ postseason schedule begins Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies (3 p.m. ET). The 7 Lakers could end up playing the 6 Warriors, who face the Sacramento Kings in the first round, later in the playoffs.
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