LeBron’s Gritty Performance: Defying Injuries in a 37-Point Show against the Rockets

LeBron James makes a revelation about his health that will worry Lakers fans.

NBA Fans Were in Awe After LeBron James's Big Night vs. Rockets - Sports  Illustrated

LeBron James was dominant as the Los Angeles Lakers squeaked past the Houston Rockets in a 104-105 win, dropping 37 points with 14 coming in the fourth quarter. After his performance, he told the media that he wasn’t feeling great, dealing with injuries and sickness but playing through it.

“I’m in a really good groove right now. I don’t feel that great right now, dealing with a couple of injuries, a little bit under the weather right now…the competition got me going a little bit.”

Lakers vs. Rockets Final Score: LeBron James wins thriller over Houston -  Silver Screen and Roll

LeBron played 40 minutes in the win against the Rockets, becoming indispensable to the Lakers offense in the fourth quarter. Given the Lakers started the season with a minutes cap on LeBron, it’s insane to think he’s averaging 34.4 minutes so far this season. The minutes staying as high as they are while he’s allegedly going through injuries may be a decision the Lakers come to regret, as they did last season.

Anthony Davis also playing through a hip injury at the moment should worry Lakers fans a lot. There is no way the Lakers can sustain playing both their stars with such high usage for another 68 games.

Rely On Depth Or Make A Move?

The Lakers have to pick a direction for the rest of the season. Do they need to make a move for a third star to take the load along with LeBron and Davis, or do they trust that their depth of versatile players that can contribute in all areas will come good?

LeBron James shines late, scoring 37 in Lakers' win over Rockets - Los  Angeles Times

D’Angelo Russell has been inconsistent but is having a strong season, while Austin Reaves had a horrible start to the season but has shined off the bench. Cam Reddish is proving to be a top perimeter defender, while Taurean Prince has earned trust as a 3-and-D forward. Christian Wood has been decent and Rui Hachimura still projects to have a big role.

Should the Lakers trade multiple pieces away from this core, even with their inconsistencies, for a one-dimensional offensive player like Zach LaVine? The Lakers’ biggest issues always center around injury, and depth like this will let them play through tough stretches of the season with rotational value instead of players on the buyout market.

The Lakers are still awaiting the seasoned debut of Jarred Vanderbilt, who can help take a lot off Anthony Davis’ plate and give the Lakers another option for a defense-focused big. Gabe Vincent had a slow start to the season but would provide guard relief. Though his $10 million contract will be among the most movable on the Lakers contract, so he may have to play well to secure a spot on the roster post-February.

A third star would add some level of offensive stability in theory, but the Lakers have always dealt with injuries ruining their season. Adding a third star and reducing depth may be a bigger problem in the long run. They have time till February to continue trusting their roster and hoping their chemistry comes good.

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