LeBron James # 23 of the Los Angeles Lakers accesses Giannis Antetokounmpo # 34 from the Milwaukee Bucks Staples Center on 6 March 2020 in Los Angeles, California Harry How / Getty Images / AFP
LeBron James made a statement in court when the Milwaukee Bucks had to make their own.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had been injured two nights earlier when he lost to James and the Los Angeles Lakers, and on Sunday afternoon they said the incumbent MVP had a slight sprain in his left knee and would miss at least two games.
Shortly afterwards, James and the Lakers excluded the Clippers for another big win. Milwaukee later lost again on Sunday and lost a third in a row in Denver on Monday while resting other regulars.
It was a reminder that everything in the NBA always boils down to health.
James and the Lakers now have a hit along with the team's sudden appearance.
"I feel like I'm playing a really good basketball right now," said James. "The last year obviously started very well, but the injury also hurt me physically and mentally because I had such an injury."
It was a groin injury he suffered when the Lakers blew out the Golden State on Christmas Day. It continued to worry him until he closed for the season in late March.
He is now the Western Conference player of the week with an average of 30.3 points, 10 assists and 8.1 rebounds in his last nine games. The Lakers (49-13) won 11 out of 12 to win Milwaukee (53-12) for the best record in the league.
Just a few days earlier, the Bucks might be on track to join the Chicago Bulls 1995-96 and Golden State Warriors 2015-16 as the only teams to win 70 games.
These warriors missed a title after Stephen Curry injured his knee in the first round and never seemed to regain his rhythm completely when he returned.
As long as Antetokounmpo's injury is actually minor, the goats will be glad that it comes in March and not in May.
And the Lakers hope that James looked as good back then as he does today.
"I am preparing for both my body and my mind to endure everything in this phase of my career," said 35-year-old James. "I know what it takes, what it takes to be mentally and physically prepared to work at a high level, and it is my responsibility to enable this team to be successful."
GAMES TO SEE THIS WEEK
Utah in Oklahoma City, Wednesday. The rise of thunder to fifth place makes this a possible playoff preview.
New Orleans in Sacramento, Wednesday. The time for these teams is short after starting the week four games ahead of eighth in Memphis.
Denver in Dallas, Wednesday. Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic can control games with their rating or pass.
Brooklyn with the Clippers, Friday. Both teams caused a sensation in July, but only the clippers were able to get their duo on the pitch together.
Memphis in Portland, Thursday. The Trail Blazers cannot afford to drop another game from the last playoff spot.
CASEY & # 39; S CHALLENGE
March can be stressful for NBA teams that are not in a playoff race and play a series of approximately 20 games before off-season work begins.
Dwane Casey didn't have much of it.
He coached a playoff team in his last five years in Toronto and his first season in Detroit, but the Pistons are now near the NBA floor.
Still, Casey said he was having fun.
"I'm frustrated, I'm upset because we're not in the race, but at the same time I like to teach, I like to train young people," said Casey. "I'm frustrated with them, but I enjoy it when it makes sense."
Young boys shouldn't be the focus of the Pistons this season. The Pistons expected a strong blow in the front with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond shooting with Luke Kennard and experienced guards who can get everything going with Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson.
None of them are on the court and Drummond and Jackson are not even on the list. The pistons get a good game from Christian Wood and try to see if one of their young guards can be their point guard in the future. They fell four times in a row and will send Casey between 20 and 45 for the first time out of the postseason since 2012-13, his first season in Toronto.
"It's disappointing because our goals for the season were completely different. We had playoff ambitions to move up to the playoffs because we made it last year and then Blake goes down, Reggie Jackson goes down and Luke goes down and Derrick Rose goes down, "said Casey." Well, the injury mistake just exhausted us and made a decision above. Let's start playing and developing the young people and we moved some people.
“So they really lit the young people. It is difficult, but it still had to be done to give us a head start, to give the starting signal for building our program, building our team and roster with the right parts. "
EDITORS & # 39; PICK
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