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Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Lebron James scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the win against the Boston Celtics on NBA season opener while admitting to be out of shape. The rest of the league should take notice.
On Thursday, James talked to reporters about the need to shape up so he can reclaim his status as the best player in the league. He admitted that the angle and foot injury has forced him to take it easy on his conditioning, which left him gassed during the Celtics game.
The 32-year-old didn’t play in the shortened NBA preseason to rest his injuries.
“I’m out of shape, very out of shape for my expectations,” he said.
On Thursday, James led his team to a cardio workout before their practice at 11 a.m.
As to his target on when he can be at his best shape, James is giving it two weeks. The 15-year veteran said that as NBA players, they have responsibilities to come to work ready. With Derrick Rose or Isaiah Thomas at the helm, and James and Wade in the wing, the Cavs have the ingredients to play up-tempo. They also have the athleticism to guard multiple positions so they switch on defense.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said that his teammates should follow James’ lead so they can play aggressive defense for 48 minutes. In the Celtics game, for instance, he said the team took off their feet on the gas pedal even if they held their opponents to 41% shooting.
“We’ve got to do a better job of playing hard six or seven minutes, you get tired, come out,” he said, adding that the team opted to play the half-court game instead of running and pushing the ball at every opportunity.
The Cavs play Magic, Bulls and Nets in their next three games.