The 36-year-old LeBron James posted 31 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds in his fourth outing of at least 40 minutes this month, missing from the free throw line on an and-1 effort that would have seen the Lakers move ahead by one point with 9.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
James was 14 of 29 from the field, just two of 10 from beyond the arc and had a season-high eight turnovers, but insisted he has no concerns over his playing time.
“I think this whole narrative of ‘LeBron needs more rest’ or I should take more rest or I should take time here, it’s become a lot bigger than what it actually is,” James said post-game. “I’ve never talked about it, I don’t talk about it, I don’t believe in it. We all need more rest.
“This is a fast turnaround from last season, and we all wish we could have more rest. But I’m here to work, I’m here to punch my clock in and be available to my team-mates.
“And if I’m hurt or if I’m not feeling well, then we can look at it then. But I have nothing but honest people [advising me], but I’m also honest with myself, as well, and me having a love for the game and me being able to be available to my team-mates is more important than anything.”
Both James and Kyle Kuzma missed three-point attempts on the Lakers’ final possession in their bid to tie the score in overtime, leaving Russell Westbrook’s layup with 11.6 seconds remaining the decider despite his missed free throw after being fouled inside.
“Obviously, I take full responsibility [for] missing that free throw [in the fourth quarter],” James added. “I got to make the free throw up there, it’s an easy point for us. But we didn’t lose the game there. But I take that responsibility, for sure, and I got to be better.”
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