LeBron James bucketed 11 fourth-quarter points en route to 23 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds, two steals and one block in the Los Angeles Lakers' 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
James' efforts came despite taking a knock from Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley early in the contest:
Beverley also blocked James' attempt to tie the game at 109 in the waning seconds:
James sat out L.A.'s 128-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday with a thoracic muscle strain, his first missed game of this season:
The 55 games James played in 2018-19 are the fewest he has played in a single season since entering the league in 2003. The three-time NBA champion was limited by a groin injury suffered on Christmas Day 2018. He was officially shut down on March 30.
So far this season, however, James had been playing in top 15-time All-Star form. The 34-year-old entered Wednesday averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 34.8 minutes.
Depending on how James might be affected by his groin moving forward, the bigger storyline from the game will be Beverley's block and the referees' decision to award possession to the Clippers after reviewing the play:
The 24-7 Lakers have now dropped four straight games, their first losing streak of the season, while the Clippers improved to 23-10.
The Lakers still lead the Western Conference, but in order to make a title run spearheaded by James and Anthony Davis, they will have to manage James' health accordingly throughout the regular season—though he isn't a fan of load management.