April 24, 2019

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LeBron James Sits Out Again, One Game After Return to Lakers

LeBron James Sits Out Again, One Game After Return to Lakers
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OAKLAND, Calif. — LeBron James was ruled out for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, two days after he returned from a 17-game absence.

The Warriors won the game, 115-101, behind 28 points from Klay Thompson. The last time the Lakers played at Oracle Arena, on Christmas night, James left with a strained left groin and did not return to action until Thursday.

About 80 minutes before Saturday’s game, Coach Luke Walton made the announcement about James’s “load management,” saying that James woke up “pretty sore” on Friday after playing 40 minutes in a 123-120 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in his return.

James finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists. The Lakers had hoped to keep James to 32 to 35 minutes, but they needed him in overtime.

“There was no taking him out at that point,” Walton said. “Who knows how sore he would have been if wasn’t overtime, but I’m sure he still would have been sore. He hadn’t played that type of basketball in five weeks. He does a lot when he’s out on the court.”

Walton said that by resting James, 34, it gives the four-time most valuable player a few more days to recover before the Lakers play at Indiana on Tuesday night.

“He hadn’t been able to play a lot of basketball prior to that,” Walton said. “We’ve got a couple days until our next game, so just load management. He was going to come here and kind of feel, get a workout in and see how he felt before making a final decision.”

James is averaging 27.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists. Walton said there may be other times James could need days off for his body to recover.

“It’s a possibility, but a lot of it will be dependent on how he’s feeling and what the schedule is like at those times,” Walton said. “Right now, it’s more just him being sore after five weeks of not playing basketball.

“It is a few days from our last game until our next one in Indy, so when me and him talked, spoke, it was ‘As much as you want to play, let’s make sure you’re making the smart decision,’ so he came over early and the decision was made.”



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