Basketball: LeBron James is injured in the Lakers victory from defending champions Warriors


LOS ANGELES: LeBron James left with a groin injury but the Los Angeles Lakers rejoined an explosive 127-101 victory over twice defending champion Golden State which ended an 11-game losing streak at the home of the Warriors.

"It was our most complete match this season," said Lakers coach Luke Walton. "We know they will run and often we rely on LeBron or our veteran leader to keep us in it."

"Without LeBron, the group as a whole does a good job of fighting back."

James was injured midway through the third quarter when he managed to get a loose ball. He grimaced and reached for his left groin before heading between where he tried to stretch it.

He moved carefully when leaving the court forever and headed to the team changing room.

"Hopefully it's not a long time I can get back to the floor as soon as possible," said James, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Walton said the team of doctors would examine James on Wednesday (December 26).

"He will get an MRI tomorrow and we will have a better understanding of what has happened," Walton said.

Kyle Kuzma contributed 19 points, Croatia Ivica Zubac had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 15 points and 10 assists as the Lakers won at home to the Warriors for the first time in six years.

They also ended their overall seven-game losing streak with their first win in California competition since 2016.

"We just want to continue to get better," James said. "It's always the next person. You have to be able to take a hit and hit back and we can do that."

Kevin Durant has 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Andre Iguodala came off the bench to score 23 highest points in the contest – one of five NBA matches on Christmas Day.

Golden State fought hard from three points, shooting just nine for a total of 36, with Stephen Curry going two out of eight and Durant three for eight.

Elsewhere, James Harden scored 41 points when the Houston Rockets recorded their seventh win in their last eight matches with a 113-109 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden has scored 35 points or more in his last five matches, which is the longest winning streak since Carmelo Anthony did it for six consecutive matches in April 2013.

"Our record is not where we want it to be, but it has arrived there," Harden said. "And we must continue to work hard every day, continue to get better and grow."

Harden became the first player to score 40 or more points on Christmas since Durant scored 44 for the Thunder eight years ago.

Russell Westbrook sank one of two free throws to cut the Rockets' lead to just three points with 15 seconds remaining, but Austin Rivers from Houston made a free throw with seven seconds left to secure victory.

In New York, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and 14 rebounds when the high-scoring Milwaukee Bucks frustrated the New York Knicks with a 109-95 victory.

Brook Lopez scored 20 points in the Bucks win.


Milwaukee led the league in the score but they lost Miami embarrassingly on Saturday where they only scored 87 points.

The Bucks also want to avenge the 136-134 defeat in extra time to the Knicks, the last time the two teams met on December 1 at Madison Square Garden.

"This is one of the highest stages," said Antetokounmpo of the Bucks, who played at Christmas for the first time since 1977. "The team specifically plays Christmas Day, and … this is an opportunity for us and we are truly happy."

In Boston, Kyrie Irving fired a clutch to force extra time then scored six points in an additional session as the Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 121-114.

Irving finished with 40 points, hitting three consecutive points in overtime while leading Boston back from a five-point deficit.

In regulation, he made a 13-foot leap to tie 108-108 with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter and forced the PL.


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