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With playoffs hopes quickly fading, the Los Angeles Lakers may start sitting LeBron James one game of the remaining back-to-back sets.
James and the Lakers (31-36) have three back-to-backs remaining, including Thursday and Friday on the road vs. the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons.
James, 34, is also supposedly on a minutes restriction, though Lakers coach Luke Walton did not offer specifics.
“We’re keeping an eye on the minutes as far as what we’re going to play him,” Walton said. “But also, it’s not a full restriction. If it’s something we feel that we’re rolling with, we’ll play him more minutes.
“It can always be adjusted, it’s nothing set in stone. But that’s more a conversation with the training staff. LeBron wants to play, and he is playing, but the training staff is the group that a lot of times is making those decisions. Can that be changed? Absolutely. That’s not something set in stone, but for now it is.”
The Lakers have four games left on their five-game trip. Along with the Raptors and Pistons, they will visit the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks — who sport the league’s worst and best record, respectively.
With 16 games left, the Lakers are 6.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot.