At the beginning of the year, LeBron James said he has no intention of resting.
“I told you I want to play every game,” the Cleveland Cavaliers star said in January. “If my health continues as it is right now, then that’s what it is.”
With 24 of the 82 regular-season games remaining, James is well on his way.
On Friday, he recorded his 11th triple-double of the season with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists — as the Cavs walloped the host Memphis Grizzlies by a 112-89 count.
James, 33, has played in all 58 games, and Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters that is by design.
“I just think being the leader of this team, I don’t think he thinks he can take games off, because, you know, guys being hurt and going through a rough patch, and now new guys coming in,” Lue said. “So, I think he’s trying to lead and lead by example.”
Ideally, the Cavs would like to find ways to cut James’ minutes. That’s tough to do right now, especially with the Cavs being a mostly new team after trading away six players at the beginning of the month.
Both LeBron and the coaching staff want LeBron on the floor to figure out his new teammates, and vice-versa.
He played 37 minutes Friday (it was a close game through most of the first three quarters), and is averaging 37.0 for the season. That’s a lot to ask of a player who is in his 15th season.
But James has never been any ordinary player, and the Cavs don’t have any ordinary goals.
“I think we still have to be smart about the situation, but [the training staff says] he feels good,” Lue said.