LeBron James has been playing some incredible basketball lately, and his most recent hot streak was capped by his season-high of 48 points in Monday’s 140-132 victory over the Houston Rockets.
But as well as he has played, it has created a problem for the Los Angeles Lakers.
When he hasn’t been on the court, either because he has been resting or because he has sat out a game here and there, they have struggled mightily, especially on the offensive end.
The team’s collective plus/minus statistic with and without James lately tells everyone all they need to know about how as James goes, so go the Lakers.
With co-superstar Anthony Davis still out due to a stress injury in his right foot, as well as an injury to Lonnie Walker IV, their third-leading scorer, the Lakers simply have no one to pick up the scoring slack without James.
Guard Dennis Schroder, who had some big games earlier this month, is in a slump, and Thomas Bryant has flamed out in his last two or three games after playing so well.
The downside to James’ big numbers lately is that he has been playing huge minutes – 36.2 a game, to be exact, since Davis’ injury.
Head coach Darvin Ham can continue to ride James as much as he wants, but he may be playing with fire given his mileage and wear and tear. It would greatly benefit the team to find a happy medium between riding him and preserving him just enough for the long run.