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Lakers' James (load management) won't play tonight vs. Pistons

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will not be playing tonight against the Detroit Pistons (7 ET, NBA League Pass).

The team announced that James will miss the game for “load management, groin” reasons. Roughly a week ago, the Lakers and James reportedly agreed to a minutes restriction for their All-Star forward. At the time, the team reportedly planned to rest James for any remaining back-to-back games in what was being termed a “cool down” period for James.

The Lakers suffered a 111-98 road loss to the Toronto Raptors last night that dropped them to 31-37. James played in that game, finishing with a team-best 29 points as well as four rebounds and six assists. The Lakers are No. 11 in the Western Conference playoff chase, but have 12 games left with opponents who boast a combined .519 winning percentage.

After eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, the 34-year-old has played by far the most minutes of any player in the NBA since 2010. James missed a career-high 17 straight games with a strained left groin earlier this season. Since the injury, the Lakers have posted a record of 11-23.

The four-time NBA MVP is averaging 27.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists over 50 games during his first season with the Lakers.

Aside from James’ absence tonight, the team lists Josh Hart (right knee tendinitis) as questionable and Reggie Bullock (left foot contusion) and Lance Stephenson (left foot, second toe sprain) as probable.