LeBron James' minutes 'always a concern', says Vogel

By Sports Desk March 15, 2022

Frank Vogel says LeBron James' game time is "always a concern" after the four-time MVP played a team-high 40 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

James starred for the Lakers in the previous day's defeat to the Phoenix Suns but was listed as questionable for Monday's clash with the Raptors due to soreness in his right knee.

The Lakers were 6-12 without James heading into the contest at Arena and Vogel took a gamble of sorts by not only using James but keeping him on the court for longer than any other player.

He delivered another impressive display with 30 points and nine rebounds, yet it was not enough to halt the Lakers' poor run as they fell to an eighth defeat in 10 games to go 29-39 for the season.

Despite James' fitness concerns, Lakers head coach Vogel is comfortable with his decision to keep the 37-year-old on the court against the Raptors, who won for a fourth straight game.

"It's always a concern," Vogel, who was in constant dialogue with James, said when asked about the forward's minutes. "But you feel the game out. There was enough stoppages. It's not always the total minutes on here. 

"It's what kind of flow the game has and there was enough stoppages that we never left like he was being too taxed."


James has played 1,845 minutes this season, which is second behind only Russell Westbrook (2,299) among Lakers players.

He has 1,487 points for the campaign and has averaged 29.7 across his 50 games, a tally that is bettered only by Joel Embiid (29.9).

Despite James' efforts, the Lakers left themselves with too much to do against the Raptors after finding themselves 24 points down in the first.

The hosts hit back to make it 109-97 with just over two minutes to go, but the comeback fell short.

Reflecting on another disappointing night for his side, a frustrated Carmelo Anthony said: "If you take away the first quarter, we won the game. We can't be digging ourselves holes or whatever. 

"We've been digging ourselves holes to start games off with. We did it against Phoenix, we did it again today. We find ourselves in those positions often this season."

Related items

  • Heat rally in fourth quarter to even NBA Finals at 1-1 Heat rally in fourth quarter to even NBA Finals at 1-1

    Gabe Vincent scored 23 points and helped spark a fourth-quarter rally that propelled the Miami Heat to a 111-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, evening the championship series at 1-1.

    The Heat overcame an eight-point deficit to start the fourth quarter to snap the Nuggets' seven-game winning streak and send the series to Miami all tied. Game 3 will take place Wednesday.

    Denver also was handed its first loss in 10 home games during this postseason despite another big effort from two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić, who poured in 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting along with 11 rebounds. 

    Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each contributed 21 points for the Heat, while Duncan Robinson scored all 10 of his points during a pivotal 15-2 run to open the fourth quarter that sent Miami ahead to stay.

    Jokic scored the final six points of the third quarter to give the Nuggets an 83-75 lead that turned out to be short-lived. Robinson had the first eight points of Miami's momentum-shifting surge, and Vincent later added a 3-pointer before hitting two free throws that put the Heat up 90-85 with nine minutes remaining.

    Miami held a 107-95 advantage after Caleb Martin's 3-pointer with 3:39 left to play, but the Nuggets responded with a late charge to put the outcome back in doubt.

    Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray hit 3-pointers to ignite an 11-2 run Murray capped with another triple that pulled Denver within 109-106 entering the final minute.

    After Jokic countered two Butler free throws with a short turnaround jumper with 35.6 seconds left, Butler missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Nuggets a chance to tie.

    Murray misfired on a step-back 3-point try with 1.9 seconds left, however, and Martin grabbed the rebound as time expired.

    Denver, which led by as many as 15 points in the first half, had been 11-0 this postseason when holding a double-digit lead.


  • Miami Heat rally late against Denver Nuggets to even NBA finals series Miami Heat rally late against Denver Nuggets to even NBA finals series

    The Miami Heat produced a fourth-quarter comeback to win the second game of the NBA finals 111-108 and even up the seven-match series against the Denver Nuggets.

    The Heat trailed by eight heading into the final period, having trailed by 15 earlier in the game in the wake of another massive performance from Nikola Jokic.

    Jokic scored 41 points, scoring 16 of 28 shots from the floor including one with 36 seconds remaining which cut the Heat’s lead to three points.

    But after Jimmy Butler missed on Miami’s next possession, Jamal Murray was unable to tie the scores with an effort on the buzzer.

    The defeat was Denver’s first since May 7 and they had won all 11 play-off games in which they had opened a double-digit lead.

    They had trailed 21-10 in the opening quarter before a barrage of three-point scores helped them to a 44-32 advantage which had been trimmed to six points at the break.

    And Miami held on through the third quarter before the late surge that takes the series to Miami all square.

    Gabe Vincent led the way for Miami with 23 points as Butler and Bam Adebayo each grabbed 21.

  • Milan 3-1 Hellas Verona: Leao double condemns visitors to Serie A relegation play-off Milan 3-1 Hellas Verona: Leao double condemns visitors to Serie A relegation play-off

    Milan signed off the Serie A season with a 3-1 victory as Rafael Leao's double condemned Hellas Verona to a relegation play-off with Spezia.

    The Rossoneri wrapped up a frustrating campaign on a winning note at San Siro, with a late Leao brace enough to seal three points.

    Milan had already secured Champions League football for another term but struggled at times against the visitors, who cancelled out Olivier Giroud's first-half penalty through Marco Faraoni's 72nd-minute strike.

    Yet Leao struck in the 85th minute and again seven minutes later, leaving Verona to face a relegation decider with Spezia, who succumbed to a late 2-1 loss at Roma.


© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.