To little surprise, the Los Angeles Lakers rested LeBron James and several others against the Golden State Warriors in their final preseason of the game. James wound up appearing in four of six contests, though never playing in the second half.
However, that nearly changed on Friday night. Already without Michael Beasley because of an ejection in the third quarter, the Lakers lost Lance Stephenson for the same reason in the fourth.
Stephenson was fouled on a drive to the basket and determined by officials to have thrown a punch. With Stephenson no longer eligible to shoot the three throws, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had his choice to pick from the Lakers’ active roster.
Seemingly in good fun, Kerr requested for James to shoot them. But Lakers head coach Luke Walton rejected that, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
Lakers Coach Luke Walton said they requested James, who wasn’t playing. But in the preseason, those rules aren’t hard and fast.
“We told them no,” Walton said.
NBA rules regulate that James, who was on the active roster and being held out for rest (coach’s decision), typically would have needed to come off the bench to shoot the free throws. However, given it was a preseason game, leniency was granted.
I've been told this wasn't the direct response to Lance getting tossed. It was when Kerr/Draymond jokingly told the Lakers they were going to make LeBron (on a rest night) come in and shoot the FT for ejected Lance https://t.co/m29kkTNKpO
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 13, 2018
The Warriors settled on former teammate JaVale McGee. He promptly knocked down both attempts, then committed an intentional foul so he could be replaced by Travis Wear.
The Lakers went on for a 119-105 comeback victory, led by 22 points from Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
and 19 points by Kyle Kuzma.
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