Fatigue doesn’t seem to be a factor for the Lakers’ Big Two
Through a rough and tumble game with the Dallas Mavericks, which resulted in their third loss of the season, and playing a tough defensive minded team like the Denver Nuggets in the Pepsi Center last night – an L.A. win – the dynamic duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James seem to show no signs of wear and tear, and no signs of slowing down this locomotive on a mission.
In other words, no such thing as ‘load management.’
The again, we’re approaching the time of year that LeBron usually does take time off, as he has with every team every season during the Christmas, New Years, and NCAA Bowl Championship series … and Ohio State is ranked No. 1 in the country, so I fully expect to see an ‘injury’ in which LeBron heals and rehabilitates by visiting the Buckeyes’ locker room for a little champagne aromatherapy and the aura of championship mentality in the room.
Perhaps he brings that back to the Lakers’ locker room for the second half of the season.
But for all those who knock and mock James’ off-season workout regimen, perhaps that is why he is still killing it at almost 35 years old (birthday is December 30, maybe another reason why he had a pinched groin at this time last year) and that mentality is rubbing off on Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, the ageless Rajon Rondo, and honestly, it’s showing in the play of New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram, who spent a season alongside James a year ago.
The Lakers have the Jazz in Salt Lake City tonight, Portland in Portland on Friday, Minnesota in L.A. on Sunday, then a five game roadie with five games in eight days in Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Indiana, and Milwaukee. They come back to Staples for rematches against the Nuggets and Clippers, head back to Portland on the 28th, and then finish 2019 against the Mavericks at Staples on the 29th.
It’s a December that could put a couple of dents in the Lakers, especially if that groin pitch, elbow hitch, 35th birthday celebration or BCS Championship comes back around for LeBron James this time of year again.
You don’t get what you wish for – you get what you work for. Even if that is simply piling up enough points or wins that you can take your birthday week off to celebrate with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Work ethic – it’s something this generation might want to look into, if they want to play basketball at the highest level into their mid- and late-30s.
Detroit Pistons 127
Cleveland Cavaliers 94
Not only have the Detroit Pistons won consecutive games for the first time this season, they’ve won consecutive games by walloping their second consecutive team by 33+ points at the expense of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
|PISTONS (8-13)||CAVALIERS (5-15)|
24 points – four rebounds – one assist
22 points – four rebounds – three assists – two steals
17 points – 14 rebounds – four assists – five steals – four blocks
|Kevin Porter, Jr.|
12 points – seven rebounds – one assist
15 points – two rebounds – four assists – one steal
10 points – 14 rebounds – one block
Bucks at Pistons – Tonight
Magic at Cavaliers – Friday
Orlando Magic 127
Washington Wizards 120
Markelle Fultz continues his evolutionary comeback, scoring a career high 20 points, netting three rebounds, dishing six assists and grabbing two steals while shooting 52.9 percent to help the Orlando Magic win their third of their last four games.
|MAGIC (9-11)||WIZARDS (6-13)|
31 points – two rebounds – three assists
42 points – six rebounds – four assists – one steal
24 points – six rebounds – one assist
21 points – five steals – one steal – two blocks
20 points – three rebounds – six assists – two steals
20 points – five rebounds – seven assists – one steal – one block
Suns at Magic – Tonight
Sixers at Wizards – Thursday
Dallas Mavericks 118
New Orleans Pelicans 97
The Dallas Mavericks used a 34-22 fourth quarter to put the New Orleans Pelicans to rest before leaving The Big Easy last night, behind Luka Doncic’s 50 percent shooting night.
|MAVERICKS (14-6)||PELICANS (6-15)|
33 points – 18 rebounds – five assists
24 points – five rebounds – six assists – three steals – one block
19 points – four rebounds – one assist
18 points – four rebounds – four assists – two blocks
12 points – four rebounds – one block
12 points – six rebounds – four assists
Timberwolves at Mavericks – Tonight
Suns at Pelicans – Thursday
Miami Heat 121
Toronto Raptors 110 (OT)
After playing to a 108-108 tie, the Miami Heat iced the Toronto Raptors 13-2 in overtime to steal a win on the reigning champs’ home floor last night, holding the Raps to 38 percent shooting, and leaving both teams at 15-5, second and third in the Eastern Conference.
|HEAT (15-5)||RAPTORS (15-5)|
22 points – 13 rebounds – 12 assists – one steal
23 points – eight rebounds – one assist – one steal
22 points – two rebounds – one assist – one block
19 points – one rebound – six assists – three steals
18 points – seven rebounds – one assist – one block
15 points – 12 rebounds – one assist
Heat at Celtics – Tonight
Rockets at Raptors – Thursday
Houston Rockets 133
San Antonio Spurs 135 (2OT)
The San Antonio Spurs have come alive after 14 games of ‘load management,’ rope-a-doping the rest of the league into thinking head coach Gregg Popovich was off to his worst start ever. The well-earned, double overtime win will come amid a circle of complaints and confusion since a waved-off James Harden dunk has now been said “should have counted.”
|ROCKETS (13-7)||SPURS (8-14)|
50 points – nine rebounds – six assists – four steals
|Lonnie Walker IV|
28 points – four rebounds – three steals – one block
22 points – 21 rebounds – two assists – one steal – two blocks
25 points – two rebounds – four assists
19 points – 10 rebounds – 10 assists – two steals – one block
23 points – five rebounds – nine assists
Rockets at Raptors – Thursday
Kings at Spurs – Friday
Los Angeles Lakers 105
Denver Nuggets 96
The Los Angeles Lakers went up against one of the toughest defending teams in the Western Conference and proved their mettle with a nine point win on the road in a tough environment to put a little more distance between themselves and the Denver Nuggets in the Western standings.
|LAKERS (18-3)||NUGGETS (13-5)|
25 points – 10 rebounds – one assist – one block
22 points – five rebounds – five assists – two steals – one block
25 points – six rebounds – nine assists
21 points – eight rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block
13 points – six rebounds – two blocks
13 points – five rebounds – eight assists – three steals
Lakers at Jazz – Tonight
Nuggets at Knicks – Thursday
Portland Trailblazers 97
Los Angeles Clippers 117
Paul George and Montrezl Harrell took advantage of a 22.2 percent shooting night from Carmelo Anthony last night to post a 20 point win on the wobbly Portland Trailblazers in L.A.
|TRAILBLAZERS (8-13)||CLIPPERS (16-6)|
20 points – three rebounds – three assists – one block
26 points – nine rebounds – one assist – one steal
18 points – 13 rebounds – one block
25 points – four rebounds – three assists
16 points – two rebounds – seven assists – one steal
19 points – eight rebounds – two assists – one steal
Kings at Blazers – Tonight
Clippers at Bucks – Friday
WEDNESDAY’S LINEUP / MY PICK ‘EMS
Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Detroit
Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Arizona
Golden State Warriors at Charlotte Hornets – 7 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Bay Area
Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks – 7:30 p.m. EST – YES
MIami Heat at Boston Celtics – 7:30 p.m. EST – NBC Sports Boston
Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls – 7:30 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southeast
Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder – 8 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Midwest Indiana
Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks – 8:30 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southwest
Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz – 9 p.m. EST – NBATV
Sacramento Kings at Portland Trailblazers – 10 p.m. EST – NBC Sports California
The Rundown w/T-Money is a daily column “all things NBA” that will run through the entirety of the season, and the playoffs through the NBA Finals
Tracy Graven is a Senior Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
He has written the NBA for the last two decades and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 20 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City.
He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife and five children.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia