Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is one of the oldest players in the league, and naturally, it sometimes shows.
He’s dealt with a decent amount of injuries over the past few years, and that’s undoubtedly taken a toll on him. People also know that Father Time is undefeated.
However, there are still plenty of times where James shows that he still has a solid amount of high-level basketball left in him. He’s even proved that on multiple occasions throughout the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Through four games in the team’s second-round series against the Golden State Warriors, James is recording 23.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while knocking down 44.9 percent of his shots from the field.
While he might be playing a little below the standard people have come to expect from him, it seems as though he might be saving some of his energy for later in the playoffs.
“The Lakers have had the answer to essentially every Warrior adjustment,” wrote The Athletic’s Jovan Buha. “They’re deeper. They’re bigger. They’re better defensively. They have more weapons. They have a tried-and-true offensive approach of attacking the rim and drawing fouls. As Ham keeps implying, James still has more gas left in the tank that he’s been conserving for later in the playoffs.”
After the Game 4 thriller on Monday night, the Lakers now have a commanding 3-1 lead over the Warriors. They just need to win one game to move on to the Western Conference Finals, something that seemed impossible earlier this season.
It’s a scary thought for the rest of the league if James is indeed conserving himself for later in the playoffs. James seems to be playing off the ball a decent amount this series. Warriors star Draymond Green called that “weird” after the first game of the series.
James has constantly excelled late in the playoffs in his career. In the conference finals, he has averages of 29.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 34.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
In the NBA Finals, the four-time champion holds averages of 28.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game on 48.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.2 percent shooting from 3-point range.
While it’s good to know that the four-time MVP seems to be preparing his body for later in the playoffs, it’s important for him to stay focused on the task at hand.
The series against the Warriors is not over. As many know, it’s possible to come back from a 3-1 deficit. James himself did it against the Warriors in the 2016 Finals in epic fashion. One of his teammates from that squad recently reminded folks that the Warriors also have some experience coming back after being down 3-1.
Game 5 of the Lakers-Warriors series will take place on Wednesday night at Chase Center.