"I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39 he played 37 minutes a night", said Lue.
James said that is entirely to do with sticking to the defensive game plan. So you know, everybody's built different, and if you're, you know, one of the greats, you know, sometimes you've got to play, sometimes you get rest, like tonight. The Knicks big man defended his teammate and rookie Frank Ntilikina after James said that the Knicks should have selected Dennis Smith Jr.in last year's NBA Draft.
James has had to play the de facto point guard position for the team over the past handful of weeks with both Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas sidelined. But at the end of the day, when we can get a win like this, everybody benefits from it. But Tyronn Lue pushed back this time on the people saying, oh, LeBron only played 27 minutes. The reason for limiting the minutes was simple on Monday. "Not just me. Everybody". With James set to turn 33 next month, it is safe to say any speculation of a switch to football is behind "The King". Whether that means he takes a few games off for rest in the middle of the season, or he has some lower minute performances, he just needs to play a little less. 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.
This isn't likely a clash between Lue and James over workload, but rather a plea to reporters to stop asking him about it.
But James has already passed Jordan in regular-season minutes, and needs just three to pass Shaquille O'Neal (41,918 minutes) for 24th in National Basketball Association history. In fact, when Bryant played 38.6 minutes per game as a 34-year-old in 2012-13, his season ended prematurely when he tore his Achilles tendon.
Abdul-Jabbar is indeed the NBA's all-time leader in minutes played (57,446 during the regular season), followed by Malone (54,852).