LeBron James defies time
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Except for his backpedaling hairline, LeBron James shows no visible signs of age. At 32, still in his prime, and still at the top of his game, he’s defying time.
“Benjamin Button,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue called him, referring to the fictional character who ages backward.
Following a regular season in which he averaged more minutes per game (37.8) than any player, James logged 43.7 per game during Cleveland’s sweep over the Indiana Pacers.
Lue spent much of the season defending his use of James, who in all honesty is really the one in control of when he sits or doesn’t. At this point, Lue has given up worrying about resting the superstar.
James wasn’t available for interviews as the team gathered for the first time in two days at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
But as has been the case for months, James’ playing time was one of the prime topics presented to Lue, who believes that the four-time MVP’s heavy workload during the regular season is what enables him to play at such high levels in the postseason.
Consider that James averaged 32.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 9.0 assists, shot 54 percent from the field, went 9 of 20 on 3-pointers and led the Cavaliers to the biggest second-half comeback in league history during the series against Indiana, and it’s easy to see why Lue wants to move past the minutes chatter.
James has ramped up his minutes nearly every postseason. Now in his 12th playoffs, he averaged 39.1 minutes last year and has only twice averaged less than 40 per game.
As for the rest of the Cavaliers, Wednesday included some competition in the team’s weight room on an aerobic conditioning machine while the team’s in-house DJ from Quicken Loans Arena spun music. After the vigorous workouts, yoga mats were dragged onto the court and the facility’s lights were dimmed for some stretching and decompression.
The Cavs had a similar, oneweek break between the first and second rounds last season. Kyrie Irving said it’s imperative to make the most of it. “The mental preparation and physical preparation starts now and hasn’t stopped,” he said. “Took a brief day off or two and now just get back to work and get ready for whichever team we’re getting ready for. The work never stops.” AP