Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James remains questionable for the LA Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs. After missing the previous five games, James returned last night and helped the Lakers beat the Spurs.
“King James” played 33 minutes, showing no signs of the left adductor strain that previously kept him out of the Lakers lineup. He finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. LA outscored San Antonio by 16 points when the 18-time NBA All-Star was on the floor.
After the game, LeBron James told the media that he felt “pretty good.” He was just a little ticked off that he committed a game-high nine turnovers. The Lakers superstar blamed the time off as the reason for the miscues, saying he didn’t have his usual rhythm with his passes.
The Lakers will see how he’s feeling after the morning shoot-around and go from there. James, though, told the media that “there’s a strong probability” he’ll play even though it’s a back-to-back as he has not played in two weeks.
Meanwhile, former NBA champ Fred VanVleet has been upgraded to questionable by the Toronto Raptors. The point guard did not play last Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets due to a non-COVID-related illness.
VanVleet, however, was a full participant in the Raptors' most recent practice, giving the team hope that he could return tonight versus the Dallas Mavericks. The Raptors, who are on a two-game slide, will need VanVleet’s presence to end their losing streak.
“Steady Freddy” is averaging 18 points to go with career-highs in assists (6.8) and steals (1.9) in 12 games for the Raptors. Without Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes in and out of the lineup, VanVleet has been more aggressive in recent games.
Malachi Flynn could start again for the Toronto Raptors if Fred VanVleet remains sidelined.
Pascal Siakam: Right adductor strain; Injured since November 4, 2022
The 2018-19 NBA Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam has missed the Toronto Raptors’ last nine games. He has been dealing with a right adductor strain but has responded well to treatment. Siakam was reportedly a full practice participant last Friday.
The Raptors, however, will continue to be extra cautious with the 2019 NBA champ. He’s already cleared for contact in practice and will continue ramping up his conditioning. Siakam is expected to return next week.
Before the injury, “Spicy P” was playing the best basketball of his career. He is averaging career-highs in scoring (24.8), rebounding (9.3) and assists (7.7).
The injury-riddled Toronto Raptors could surely use those stats as they try to keep their heads above water.
Scottie Barnes: Left knee sprain; Injured since November 19, 2022
Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year winner Scottie Barnes is dealing with a left knee sprain. He suffered the injury against the Atlanta Hawks on November 19, which forced him to miss Wednesday’s game versus the Brooklyn Nets.
Barnes will now miss his second straight game as he has been ruled out of Toronto's home game against Dallas tonight. The former Florida State standout’s absence will cause more headaches for coach Nick Nurse. Toronto will not have the services of Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa, Otto Porter Jr. and others.
Scottie Barnes could return on Monday when the Toronto Raptors host the Cleveland Cavaliers.