Not even Cleveland fans will deny this: LeBron looks tired. He’s been a non-factor in the 4th quarter of both NBA Finals games so far, and in a stat nobody’s talking about, he’s been outscored 17-4 by Kevin Durant in the 4th quarter, in virtually the same amount of playing time. LeBron is in the Finals for the 7th straight year, a record in the modern era.
Undeniably, he’s gassed.
But just how tired is he? When he went to the bench in the 4th quarter of Game 2, LeBron walked, obviously dejected, but also sucking wind. He took a moment to collect himself, and announcer Mike Breen even noticed it:
This feels like a good time to note that LeBron inexplicably led the NBA in minutes played this season, at the age of 32. He averaged a staggering 37.8 minutes a game. The previous year he was only 12th (35.6 minutes) and in his first year back in Cleveland, he was 5th (36.1). It’s unclear what LeBron was trying to prove this regular season, coming off a championship.
Please don’t point out that Michael Jordan never took games off, and averaged more minutes; Jordan took 1.5 years off the NBA to play baseball. LeBron, already, has played more career minutes than Jordan in the regular season, and has logged over 1,500 more playoff minutes than MJ. Reminder: LeBron’s 32. Jordan retired at the age of 35.
You can spend all the time you want on X’s and O’s, and worrying about JR Smith’s contributions, but remember: LeBron is tired. Everyone noticed.