LeBron, do you have to step up with Kevin Love out? “I’ve never stepped down”

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For the next six weeks, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be without Kevin Love and his corner threes, his 20 points and 11 boards a night, his improved ability to find spaces in the offense to operate because of knee surgery. The Cavaliers have been 11.5 points per 100 possessions better when Love is on the court this season, and while there is a lot of noise it that stat it shows his value to the team and ability to play with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

With him gone (and J.R. Smith out at least a few more weeks), Channing Frye will get the starts coach Tyronn Lue told the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chris Fedor: everyone needs to pick up their game.

“Everyone has to step up and fill that void,” Lue said. “LeBron, D-Will (Derrick Williams), Champ (James Jones), Channing. Everyone has to step up and be ready to play.”

LeBron, you agree you need to step up?

“I’ve never stepped down,” he said. “Why does it change now? Ain’t nothing changed. I have my guys ready to play every single night.”

LeBron also put it this way.

“As long as I’m in the lineup, we’ve got a chance,” James said Tuesday morning. “We good. Kev is out for an extended period of time. J.R. (Smith) has been out, but I’m in the lineup. I’ll be suiting up. We’ve got a chance against anybody. I ain’t worried.”

He’s not wrong. So long as the Cavs suit LeBron and Kyrie Irving up they are going to win plenty of regular season games, and likely keep that top seed in the East.

However, it’s fair to wonder about LeBron’s minutes. He is tied for the league lead in minutes per game at 37.6 a night, and he’s 11th in total minutes on the season. Lue had said previously he planned to start lowering LeBron’s minutes starting in February to make sure he was fully rested and sharp for the playoffs. That plan looks like it will be put on hold. LeBron, of course, says he wants none of that and will play as many minutes as the team needs and more. He’ll take on whatever load the team needs.

The only questions is, does this catch up with him in the postseason?