The Lakers will be without their two stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis on Monday when they travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets. Both LeBron (left ankle soreness) and AD (right foot stress injury) are listed as out on the injury report released by the Lakers on Sunday afternoon.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James are out Monday in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/CrMBMHqAGD— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 29, 2023
LeBron has sporadically missed time this season with various injuries, this ankle soreness being the most recent. Still, he had played the last nine games for the Lakers and had played all but two games since Dec. 21, including a number of back-to-backs.
Davis’ absence from the game is predictable given his recent return from injury. After playing in both games since missing over a month with his foot injury, Davis is sitting out Monday’s game as he continues ramping up to no limitations.
There’s a very real chance the Lakers made a calculated decision about the upcoming pair of games. With both LeBron's and AD’s statuses unclear for back-to-backs, the team could have made a decision that Tuesday’s game against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden is more winnable than Monday’s game against the Nets.
Brooklyn is 30-19 on the year, though they have lost six of their last nine contests. The Knicks are 27-24 and have lost five of their last seven. It also may have simply come down to wanting to play in MSG versus playing in whatever Brooklyn’s arena is called.
This also makes it more likely that LeBron breaks the scoring record back home. As it stands, the team’s two games in Los Angeles against the Thunder and Bucks on Feb. 7 and Feb. 9 are the two likeliest dates he passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time title, assuming he doesn’t miss another game. That, however, probably didn’t factor into the Lakers thinking in sitting LeBron for Monday given the fact he will break the record at some point regardless.