No James, Giannis when Bucks host Lakers
NBA.com Global on Mar 20, 2019 07:49 AM
FILE - LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: LeBron James #23 of Team LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Stephen hug before the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
So much for the latest edition of the LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo showdown.
James will miss today's game for the Los Angeles Lakers because of a sore left groin, the same injury that caused him to miss a career-high 17 straight games earlier this season. In addition, Antetokounmpo will miss the game as well. The Milwaukee Bucks' star forward tweaked his ankle on a fourth-quarter drive in Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
LeBron James (sore left groin) is out for tonight's game in Milwaukee.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 19, 2019
Giannis, Sterling, Pau and Donte are out tonight.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 19, 2019
The Lakers will also be without swingman Lance Stephenson (left toe sprain), while guard Josh Hart (right knee tendinitis) and center Tyson Chandler (neck stiffness) are both questionable. Sterling Brown (right wrist soreness), Donte DiVincenzo (bilateral heel bursitis) and Pau Gasol will also miss the game for the Bucks.
Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) that the team has not discussed shutting James down for the final stretch of the season. Although they are still mathematically alive in the Western Conference playoff chase, the 31-39 Lakers are 9.5 games behind the LA Clippers for the No. 8 spot.
Lance Stephenson is out for tonight in Milwaukee, Josh Hart is questionable and Tyson Chandler is probable.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) March 19, 2019
LeBron not playing tonight. Luke Walton says the team has not discussed shutting him down for the final stretch. Would really be something if the final moment of his first Lakers season was getting blocked by Hezonja at the Garden.— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 19, 2019
James played in the Lakers' last game, a 124-123 road loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday (Monday, PHL time), but sat out Friday's (Saturday, PHL time) 111-97 road loss to the Detroit Pistons due to load management.
Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks are closing out their season series with the Lakers tonight. The Bucks won 131-120 on March 1 (Mar. 2, PHL time) behind a monster game from Eric Bledsoe (31 points, nine rebounds and five assists). In that game, Antetokounmpo was held to 16 points - below his 27-point average - and 15 rebounds for Milwaukee, while James scored 31 points and added seven rebounds and 10 assists.
Roughly a week ago, the Lakers and James reportedly agreed to a minutes restriction for their All-Star forward. At the time, the team reportedly planned to rest James for any remaining back-to-back games in what was being termed a "cool down" period for James.
After eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, the 34-year-old James has played by far the most minutes of any player in the NBA since 2010. The four-time Kia MVP winner is averaging 27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and eight assists per game this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.