Lakers say they’ll scale back on LeBron’s minutes

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LOS ANGELES — With the Lakers all but officially out of playoff contention — trailing the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed LA Clippers by 6½ games with 17 left to play — the team is making plans to scale back LeBron James‘ minutes to close out the season.

“I will be monitoring his workload from here on out,” Lakers coach Luke Walton told ESPN on Thursday.

The 34-year-old James played 31 minutes, nearly five less than his season average, in the Lakers’ loss to Denver on Wednesday. The Lakers (30-35) have lost four in a row and eight of their last 10.

The four-time MVP signed a long-term contract with the Lakers in the summer of 2018, and Walton stayed focused on the long view with James from the very start.

“We’ve got four years,” Walton said during the preseason. “We want to make sure we’re not only playing at our best come the end of the season but

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