LeBron James, Tyronn Lue Downplay Talk of James' Minutes Played

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 11: LeBron James #23 talks with head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Quicken Loans Arena on February 11, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Nuggets 125-109. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

LeBron James saw no problem with playing a season-low 27 minutes in a blowout win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

"You make so much a big thing about my minutes," the Cleveland Cavaliers star told the media after the game. "It's not a huge issue. But at the end of the day, when we can get a win like this, everybody benefits from it. Not just me. Everybody."

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue compared James to other stars who earned a lot of playing time late in their careers.

"Everybody's built different," Lue said. "If you're one of the greats, sometimes you've got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight."

James led the NBA last season with 37.8 minutes per game and once again tops the list with 37.9 per contest this year. At 32 years old—15 seasons into his NBA career—there is some concern about whether this will cause fatigue over the course of the year.

None of the other top 10 players in minutes per game are older than 30, and only three players in their 30s are averaging more than 35 MPG this season, per Basketball Reference.

Even Warriors forward Draymond Green believes James' extended minutes could be an issue.

"Yeah, he's superhuman, but eventually his superhuman powers go away," Green said last week, per Sam Amick of USA Today. "So that would be more of my concern if I'm a Cavs fan."

This is what made games like Monday so important for Cleveland, as James, Kevin Love and other key players could get some much-needed rest. The four-time MVP sat out the entire fourth quarter, and no one on the team played more than 30 minutes in a 116-88 win over Detroit.

The Cavaliers will hope for another easy game Wednesday at home against the Brooklyn Nets.