CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James capped his 15th regular season with yet another record.
James played in his 82nd game on Wednesday night against the New York Knicks, completing an end to end run that underscores the 33-year-old’s remarkable consistency. The four-time MVP had never played every game in a regular season as he typically sits out games at the end of the year to rest for the playoffs.
Not this year.
James’ previous high was 81 games in 2008-09, when then-coach Mike Brown sat him for the Cavs’ regular-season finale. James never made playing every game a goal, but he has said he wants to break the mold for players of his age.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he tried to talk James out of playing, but relented.
“He wants to play,” Lue said. “I mean, it’s hard to play 82 games. I was in the league 11 years. Never had a chance to get to 82. Everything has to go absolutely right. He wants to play and I guess in his 15th year to get to 82, it really says a lot. It says a lot about him. But once he gets his 10 points, don’t be surprised if I yank him out. He might get mad, but I don’t care. I don’t care.”
And Lue kept his word.
After James scored 10 points, extending his NBA record for scoring in double digits to 873 games, Lue sent in Jordan Clarkson for the three-time champion.
James will finish the season leading the league in points and minutes played. He entered the finale averaging 27.7 points with career-highs in assists (9.2) assists and rebounds (8.7). He’s not expected to be named MVP as Houston’s James Harden remains the favorite, but James remains the game’s unquestioned best all-around player.
James will also lead the Cavs in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.