LeBron James – Has time finally caught up with him?

The Lakers are in a play-off best of 7 with the Denver Nuggets and currently lead 2 games to 1. But has their “Ace” card – LeBron James – hit the wall? Judge for yourself after you have read this article from CBS Sports. We’re not so sure and as his last game proved with 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, he’s still a force to be reckoned with.

LeBron James’ age has been on display like never before in playoffs, a vulnerability Lakers may not overcome

For the first time, it looks like LeBron, 35, is hitting his physical limit

LeBron James has posted some of the most mind-boggling playoff statistics in NBA history, but if one column in his box score consistently stands out, it’s his minutes total. He has played 10,496 total playoff minutes in his career, roughly three extra seasons worth of games at his typical workload. That typical workload increases significantly when the postseason rolls around, though. Playoff LeBron almost always plays at least 40 minutes in close games.

This makes sense intuitively. LeBron’s fitness is beyond reproach. He has always been one of the NBA’s best athletes, so it stands to reason that he’d also be among the most durable. He’s played all 48 minutes in four separate playoff games, with the last one coming as recently as 2018, when he was 33 years old. Endurance has never been an issue. LeBron, for nearly two decades, has been superhuman. In some ways, he still is. At 35, he is still widely considered the NBA’s best player.

But that superhuman endurance? That might be slipping. James played only 37 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. The Lakers won those 37 minutes by two points … but lost the game by eight. LeBron sitting for 11 minutes was enough for a 10-point Denver swing, and that’s nothing new. He sat for a total of 28 minutes across five 2017 NBA Finals games. The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers by 27 points in that span. LeBron’s teams have always struggled when he’s gone to the bench. They’ve just been fortunate that he almost never needed to.

At 35 years old? He does require more breathers on the bench. James has played 40 minutes only once in the 2020 playoffs. It came in a Game 1 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, the sort of defeat that typically leads to stars playing more minutes, not less. Yet his minutes have gone down ever since, and even that Portland game wasn’t a particularly high peak to come down from. He played 41 minutes and three seconds in the playoff opener. Ready for a starting fact? Playoff LeBron has topped that 154 times out of 252 total playoff games. In 2020, James has not had a top-150 playoff game in his career in terms of minutes played.

There are good reasons for that aside from the simple fact that James is old. In general, players play less now than they did even a few years ago. Almost everyone’s conditioning declined during the pandemic. The Lakers have also played a number of blowouts, allowing him extra rest, and the bubble schedule of games every other night allows less day-to-day rest. No matter the culprit, the numbers have been clear: LeBron needs that rest. Throughout the postseason, he’s worn down as games have progressed.

The Lakers don’t have a roster equipped to play without LeBron for extended stretches. During the regular season, they were 10.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor, a gap that has grown to 15.6 in the playoffs, and he was the only regular-season rotation player whose absence pushed the Lakers into a negative net rating. As well as Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso have played in supporting roles this postseason, LeBron is the only primary ball-handler on this roster.

And he might still be the best one in all of basketball. James is still averaging 25.9 points on 55.4 percent shooting. He’s 1.2 assists per game short of a triple-double average for an entire playoff run, a feat never achieved over more than 12 total games (LeBron has already played 13). He’s playing his best defense since his Miami days. For 36-38 minutes, LeBron is still very much LeBron.

But that kind of qualifier has never been needed in the past. He was superhuman, immune to such common necessities as rest or help. Now, for the first time in perhaps a decade, Playoff LeBron looks mortal. He may still be the best player in the world, but he finally has a weakness, and it’s a weakness the Lakers aren’t particularly well-equipped to cover up. Were it not for an Anthony Davis buzzer-beater, the Lakers would be trailing 2-1 in this series with losses explainable by a miserable LeBron fourth quarter in Game 2 and an even worse outing by his bench in Game 3.

Even leading 2-1, the Lakers can’t exactly afford complacency. The Nuggets have already come back from two separate 3-1 deficits. They’ve won the past six quarters of this series by 18 points. Whether in this series or in the NBA Finals, a time is going to come in which the Lakers are going to have to optimize and use a shorter, more traditional playoff rotation.

That used to mean throwing LeBron out there for 44 or 45 minutes and taking the bench out of the equation. It isn’t clear if that’s possible anymore. Perhaps the Lakers have intentionally limited LeBron’s minutes to give themselves a trump card. They haven’t needed him to play 45 minutes yet. They haven’t lost more than a single game in any series, after all, so the idea of saving him for when he is needed most makes some sense. But it’s no longer the only or even the likeliest explanation for his workload. The probable answer is that a condensed schedule and imperfect roster are taking a toll on him at 35 that they wouldn’t have in years past, and even if the Lakers remain heavy championship favorites, it makes them more vulnerable than LeBron’s best teams have ever been.

Source: cbssports.com

Take the time now to schedule a Court Inspection for your facility. Call now on 03 9467 6126 and arrange an appointment for our expert technicians to assess your stadium’s competition Sports Flooring and develop a sensible maintenance program going forward.

Nellakir are Victoria and Tasmania’s leading experts in all Sports Flooring. For scheduled cleaning, annual maintenance and repairs or for complete construction and installation of all Timber Sports Flooring, call Nellakir on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Nellakir – Champion Floors for present and future Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

The Progression in Sports Flooring – From Bitumen to Sprung Timber Flooring, Outdoor to Elite Indoor Stadiums.

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Thirty years ago when children played Netball or started playing Basketball, it was often on a fairly rough uneven asphalt court – outdoors, open to the elements with parents and siblings standing around the outside of the courts. At Ferntree Gully for example over 30,000 children a week attend the multi-courts on weekends. The progression to indoor premium Timber Sports Stadiums has seen the introduction of elite sports flooring right across all levels of competition for those playing Basketball and Netball.

For the sportswomen and men at the top of their fields in both disciplines, it has always been Sprung Timber Flooring at the highest levels of competition. And then lots of kids who started following Basketball in the US through the NBA coveted those polished maple boards. The game was faster with less risk of injury and players could really exercise their skills on the timber floored courts.

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About 20 years ago, things began to change radically here in Australia. Concrete courts were being rapidly replaced in major stadiums with Sprung Timber Courts. ASF/Horner and Nellakir were at the forefront of those changes.

When the new State Netball and Hockey Centre was constructed in Royal Park for Netball Victoria in time for the Commonwealth Games of 2006, the stadium and its courts were completed in 2001, having been installed by Nellakir.

Timber Sports Floors and the evolution of indoor sports has now seen the growth of both Basketball and Netball exponentially here in Australia. All major cities and regional centres now boast world class FIBA approved Stadiums with premium sports flooring – timber sports flooring.

But today it goes way beyond just the upper levels of competition. It starts in primary Schools with multi-purpose timber floored courts included in nearly all new school buildings here in Victoria. The courts are used for Basketball, Netball, Volleyball, Gymnastics and other activities. As well they double as indoor assembly areas.

Construction is supervised by the Victorian Schools Building Authority which has a dedicated target of building and constructing over 100 new schools from 2019 until 2022. Many of these schools fall within the PPP program run by the Victorian State Government – the Public Private Partnership program with major corporate organisations such as Spotless Services providing ongoing Asset management and other required services.

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This month Nellakir will commence three such new schools

• Truganina South East Primary School – (between Derrimut and Laverton)
• Rockbank North Primary School – (between Melton and Caroline Springs)
• Thoroughbred Primary School – (in Clyde North)

Next month Nellakir will commence works at the following locations as well, installing premium timber sports flooring.

• Heathmont College – (East of Ringwood)
• Rosebud Aquatic Centre – (Mornington Peninsula)
• Altona Sports Stadium – (a major metropolitan sports centre)

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So from an early age school children get to play and compete on a professional timber sports floor. It’s no wonder that Australia now has over 9 players on the current NBA roster and that Netball has now been accepted as an Olympic sport and will soon offer a medal competition. Australia is one of the prime movers in both fostering Netball at a grass roots level and internationally.

Nellakir are and have been the leading experts in the installation, maintenance and scheduled programmed cleaning of all Timber Sports Flooring. Nellakir are the exclusive agents for ASF/Horner Sprung Timber Sports Flooring systems in both Victoria and Tasmania.

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Annual Maintenance of Sports Flooring is especially important. Recoating with approved surface preparations, re-lining and repairs on general wear and tear mean your sports flooring will last longer and provide a continued premium playing surface for all users and competitors.

Equally important is the need to provide competent professional cleaning services for your valuable Timber Sports Flooring. Engaging cleaners with no understanding of the flooring and its sophistication is simply a recipe for disaster and added expense when annual maintenance is required. Severe neglect can require a complete re-sanding, re-surfacing and re-lining.

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Don’t take risks. Call Nellakir now on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here [LINK https://www.nellakir.com.au/contact.html%5D to schedule an obligation free consultation with one of our Flooring Technicians.

Nellakir for professional Sports Flooring.

Champion Sports Flooring for present and future champions.

Nellakir – the experts in Pro-Timber Sports Flooring.