The Cleveland Cavaliers picked up a convincing and easy win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, blowing out the home team 116-88.
It was the Cavs' fifth-straight win as they continue to dig themselves out of an early season slump. However, after the game, there was only one question on the mind of media members.
Coach Tyronn Lue faced several questions about LeBron James's minutes, as the star forward played 27 minutes - only the 16th time in his long career he has played that few minutes in a game.
In a win on Friday, LeBron played 46 minutes, so reporters wanted to know if this was a way to get the superstar some more rest. However, Lue said he's tired of hearing about LeBron's minutes, adding that all-time greats are asked to do more (via ESPN.com):
"I hear about that all the time," a somewhat perturbed Lue said. "I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39, he played 37 minutes a night. Karl Malone was 37, played 38 minutes a night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe [Bryant]. Everybody's built different. If you're one of the greats, sometimes you've got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight."
Indeed, it's not the Cavs' plan to play LeBron so much, but he gives them their best chance to win when he's on the court. Still, that's why games like Monday's are so important, giving him a bit of extra time off.
Even James himself thinks too much is being made about his playing time. However, he did add that he and his teammates benefit from easy victories like the one they picked up against the Pistons:
"You make so much a big thing about my minutes," James said. "It's not a huge issue. But at the end of the day, when we can get a win like this, everybody benefits from it. Not just me. Everybody."
The important thing is the Cavs improved to 10-7 with the win. The team is playing its best basketball of the year right now.
The Cavs held a 27-point halftime lead and led by as many as 39 before taking the starters out of the game. James said playing so well and extending the lead was a big focus:
"I just wanted to keep the pedal down," James said. "We haven't had a win like this in a very long time. Come out sometimes in the third quarter and we get slow starts and teams get back into it. But today we just kept it going. It's a pretty big step for us."
The Cavs host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday before hitting the road again, so it wouldn't be a total surprise to see Cleveland extend its winning streak to seven in the coming days.