LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 31: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers waits to enter the game during a 123-120 win over the LA Clippers at Staples Center on January 31, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP
Agence France-Presse

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will miss the marquee match-up against the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday, coach Luke Walton said.

James played 40 minutes on Thursday in his return from a five-week injury absence, scoring 24 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and handing out nine assists as the Lakers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 123-120 in overtime.

Although he showed no sign on court of the groin injury that saw him sidelined for 17 games — ever since a Christmas Day victory over the Warriors — James acknowledged that he hadn’t expected to play so many minutes in his return and would have to see how his body responded.

Walton said James was “pretty sore” after that game and would be rested against the Warriors for “load management”.

The Lakers have been 6-11 without James.

They’ll be up against a Warriors team not only eager to avenge their Christmas Day defeat but also to bounce back after having their 11-game winning streak snapped by the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

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