The Milwaukee Bucks were recently able to take down a shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers squad with LeBron James sitting out the contest due to left foot soreness. This meant that he did not face off with his fellow All-Star captain in Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While the season series between the Lakers and Bucks is now finished, LeBron and Giannis will square off once again in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. Since the game has switched to the captain format as opposed to East vs. West, James is 5-0 as a team captain and two of those victories came against Antetokounmpo.
The Greek Freak has not forgotten those losses either, and following the Lakers and Bucks contest last Thursday night, Giannis made it clear that he does not plan on going 0-for-3 against LeBron in the All-Star Game, via NBA on TNT:
Giannis: “My goal is to beat LeBron [in the All-Star Game]. … I cannot be 0-3 against him.” pic.twitter.com/Etu9w1pbPp
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 10, 2023
Back in 2019, Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis 178-164 with Kevin Durant taking home All-Star MVP honors. In 2020, the first year the All-Star Game adopted the Elam Ending, Team LeBron came away with a thrilling 157-155 victory as Anthony Davis made the game-winning free throws to end it.
The last two seasons saw Durant be named the captain opposite LeBron with Giannis even winning his first All-Star Game MVP as part of Team LeBron in 2021. But this year, the Bucks star is intent on taking down his Lakers counterpart and give him his first All-Star loss.
This means the annual All-Star draft will be one to watch as the two will look to build the best roster to come away with the win. They will first pick between the other eight starters. Representing the West is Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson, and Nikola Jokic, though both Curry and Williamson are injured and will need replacements. The East is represented by Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving. Coincidentally, both Irving and Durant are now in the West after being traded to the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, respectively. Durant also is not expected to play.
The All-Star Game has reached a new level of competitiveness in recent years and while it is still an exhibition overall, Giannis and LeBron will be gunning for that victory.
Lakers’ LeBron James dealing with normal wear and tear of foot injury
James was unavailable for the Lakers’ contest against the Bucks because of his foot issue, but there still seems to be no serious issue as head coach Darvin Ham made clear before the game.
“Just us monitoring his foot and the issues there. He was able to get some pictures of it and we’re thankful that there’s not anything extensive, it’s just more of a wear-and-tear,” Ham said “The biggest thing for him is for us to be efficient with his availability as well as his minutes and all of that to try to give his body a chance whenever he can to recover.”
If the Lakers plan on making a playoff run, they will need LeBron James at full power leading the way.
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