Cavs coach Tyronn Lue doesn't want to talk about LeBron James' minutes
James put in more than 10 minutes less than his season average on Monday against the Pistons
What's the story?
In the Cleveland Cavaliers' 116-88 win over the much improved Detroit Pistons on Monday night, people were questioning coach Tyronn Lue about the fact that LeBron James only played a season-low 27 minutes in the game.
In case you didn't know...
In terms of total minutes played in a career, James will surpass Shaquille O'Neal for 24th on the all-time list after playing just a couple more minutes in the team's next game.
The heart of the matter...
Including last night's game, James is averaging 37.9 minutes per game. Lue would include some of the game's greats when he talked about James' minutes last night (transcript from ESPN's Dave McMenamin):
"I hear about that all the time," a somewhat perturbed Lue said. "I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39; he played 37 minutes a night. Karl Malone was 37, played 38 minutes a night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe [Bryant]. Everybody's built different. If you're one of the greats, sometimes you've got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight."
Going into Monday's game against Detroit, LeBron led the league in total minutes played and minute per game. James would talk about the number of minutes he's accruing on the season in the following quote:
"We want to get those minutes down for sure. But as of right now, we've had two point guards out and we've had some different lineup changes, so I've had to play more minutes than I would like, and more minutes than my teammates would like me to have."
According to Basketball-Reference, this is only the 16th time in James' 15-year career that he played 27 minutes or less in a game. The reason for limiting the minutes was simple on Monday. The Cavs led by 27 at halftime and by as many as 39 in the second half.
The Cleveland Cavaliers (10-7) will take their five-game winning streak into a game against the Brooklyn Nets (6-10) on Wednesday evening.
Like Lue said earlier, I don't get all this resting of players when Jordan played 37 minutes a night when nearing the age of 40, but that is why they're getting paid the big bucks to coach these teams today and try to succeed.