LeBron James’ 18-game scoring streak might have come at a steep price for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The “lebron james unbreakable records” is a headline that has been making the rounds recently. LeBron James’ 18-game scoring streak might have come at a steep price for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James pulled together an 18-game streak where he scored at least 25 points while often-injured big man Anthony Davis was sidelined for an extended period of time.
With James missing for three games due to “general swelling” in his left knee, the Lakers and their fans must be wondering how far the scoring run has lasted.
James not only sat out the last three games of the Lakers’ 2-4 road trip, but he also departed early to return to Los Angeles for extra therapy on his injured knee. An MRI revealed that the knee is structurally sound. However, given James’ importance to the Lakers’ chances this season, the swelling is unquestionably a major issue.
The Lakers’ championship prospects would almost surely be dashed if LeBron James suffered a catastrophic injury.
On January 23, 2022 in Miami, Florida, Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James holds the form on his jump jumper during a game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena. | Getty Images/Michael Reaves
The Lakers have long feared that the 37-year-old James would be forced to do too much this season, resulting in an injury that would keep him out for an extended length of time.
While Davis was sidelined for 17 games, James did all he could to keep the Lakers afloat. James averaged 32.5 points per game during an 18-game string of scoring at least 25 points, the second-longest streak of his remarkable career. In 14 of the 18 games, he scored at least 30 points, including a 43-point performance in only 29 minutes in Portland on the last night of 2021.
The issue was the amount of energy James had to use to carry the wheezing and groaning Lakers throughout those games. Because of all he had to do to keep the team competitive, every game seemed like a game-and-a-half for James’ body at times. With Russell Westbrook struggling, being benched for a game, then suffering some more, James had to play center, point guard, and wing at times.
Following a recent victory against the Magic, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of James, “He’s the most unique player in the history of the game.” We won a championship two years ago with him playing point guard, he’s always been a ball-handling wing, and now he’s playing center for us. It’s impressive, and the fact that he’s doing it at this juncture in his career is even more impressive.”
If James is sidelined for a lengthy amount of time, the burden on Davis and Westbrook will increase.
Rob Pelinka, the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, has gotten a lot of fire for the way he built this team’s squad. Trading for Russell Westbrook when the club needed shooters and guys who could flourish without the ball was the most apparent error. Neither of those descriptors fits Westbrook’s personality, and the consequences have been disastrous this season.
TNT’s Charles Barkley just went on an epic tirade about head coach Frank Vogel and even Westbrook being blamed instead of Pelinka. If Stanley Johnson is your second-best player for a lengthy period of time, as Barkley pointed out, the roster is severely broken.
The signing of Westbrook, which James and Davis lobbied for, had one logical explanation. When James is resting or sidelined, he could theoretically be a scoring danger to the Lakers. When James was absent, Westbrook had a 35-point night in Charlotte, but the Lakers lost because the volatile point guard made an ill-advised 3-pointer when a two-point shot would have sufficed.
Of course, Anthony Davis was expected to play a big role in all of this. Davis, on the other hand, has been unable to do much for the Lakers due to his proclivity for getting injured.
Last week, Davis sparked optimism by playing well in his first game back, and the Lakers thrashed the injury-plagued Brooklyn Nets. Davis was absent again two games later after slamming his wrist against the hoop during a dunk attempt.
The Lakers must control their best player’s minutes, go on a run, and stay healthy.
LeBron James has returned to Los Angeles, according to Frank Vogel, to resume therapy on his left knee. “He’ll be out as long as the edema is there,” Vogel added.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 30, 2022 Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James has missed his team’s last three games with soreness and swelling in his left knee.
Even though all-time greats like Tom Brady and LeBron James have sought to fight off the ravages of aging in recent years, keep in mind that Father Time remains undefeated and untied.
At 37 years old, James has had an incredible season, ranking third in scoring (29.1 PPG) and fourth in ESPN’s Player Efficiency Ratings (27.60).
However, James, the Lakers’ brass, and the coaching staff must be concerned by the following statistic: His 36.6 minutes per night put him in fourth place in the NBA. James is averaging about a minute more each night than rookie Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors, who is 16 years younger than the Lakers star.
The Lakers must do everything possible to limit James’ exposure on the floor if and when he returns. They’ll also need more from Davis, Westbrook, and the rest of their aging supporting cast.
Given their poor defense and inconsistency throughout the season, it’s doubtful if the Lakers are even a title candidate. But one thing is certain: They won’t be a playoff team if they can’t keep James healthy and pleased for the remainder of the season.
Senior NBA Writer John Denton of Sportscasting.com gathered firsthand statements for the article.
ESPN.com provided the statistics.
RELATED: Anthony Davis’ Return Demonstrates the Lakers’ Potential, but the Superstar Must Stay Healthy
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