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Lakers' LeBron James Says He Re-Injured Groin After Patrick Beverley Knee

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 26, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James reacts after making a 3-pointer during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 111-106. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

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:

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Lakers’ LeBron James: “I felt healthy going into the game. The second or third defensive possession, I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Beverley. That kind of sent me back to where I was five days ago.” https://t.co/KHWoCjyMZQ

Beverley also blocked James' attempt to tie the game at 109 in the waning seconds:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Pat Bev with the clutch block on Bron to seal the game 😤 (@RockstarGames) https://t.co/HgZCOePchU

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:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

AGAINST Denver. LeBron suffered a muscle strain Tuesday at Indiana and played through it Thursday at Milwaukee. It's game No. 30 for the Lakers and the first James will miss this season … with a Christmas Day showdown against the Clippers looming

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:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Beverley knocked the ball out of LeBron’s hands with 3.4 seconds left. He got switched over onto James when LAL needed a 3, not ideal since he had to put the ball on the floor. Refs reviewing if it tipped off James.

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Call was overturned, and LAC were awarded possession. LAL don’t get a shot off with a chance to tie. Clippers ball up 3 with 3.6 seconds left.

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Lakers’ LeBron James on the late review w/ Clippers’ Patrick Beverley: “I was surprised by the overturn. I didn’t feel like the ball went off my hand. ... If you look at slow motion 4, 5 or 10 times, you can always decide it’s a different call.” https://t.co/8uFHvCGSTJ

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.