In an NBA season teeming with excitement over the battle of Los Angeles, the West’s two best teams are trading barbs over the most mundane of topics.
On Tuesday it was Doc Rivers’ turn.
Load management controversy
The Clippers became the object of fan ire when Kawhi Leonard’s load management regimen meant a missed game in a potential Finals preview against Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.
While Leonard regularly takes games off as part of a philosophy of saving his body for the playoffs, James has thrived as he’s played every Lakers game this season.
“Why wouldn’t I play if I’m healthy?” James said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me, personally. I mean, I don’t know how many games I’ve left in my career. I don’t know how many kids that may show up to a game that are there to see me play.”
It’s hard to not hear “It doesn’t make any sense to me” as a veiled shot at the Clippers’ divergent load management philosophy.
‘Whatever LeBron says it is’
Rivers certainly appeared to think it was. The Clippers coach fired back at James when asked about it before Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
Doc Rivers on LeBron James’ take on load management pic.twitter.com/P7qdWqEQW6
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 18, 2019
“It’s our philosophy,” Rivers said of load management when asked about James’ comments. “I don’t know what theirs are. I think theirs is whatever LeBron says it is, to be honest. That makes a lot of sense to me. I like what we are doing, and I think it’s the smart thing to do. Who knows? We’ll see at the end.”
Rivers is right on one point. James’ take is an easy one while he’s feeling good in December.
But only time will tell if the almost-35-year-old playing in his 17th season will regret putting this kind of toll on his body when the games matter more in May and June.
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