LeBron James scored a season-high 39 points to lead the Lakers to a come-from-behind overtime victory, 124–116, at the Indianapolis Pacers.
James had just missed Tuesday night’s loss to the Knicks while serving a one-game suspension for striking Detroit Pistons Isaiah Stewart in the face.
“I was excited about being in the lineup,” James said. “Me not playing last night on the second night of a back-to-back, I knew I could kind of give our guys a boost of energy with me not playing last night.”
James was 13–29 from the field, 5–12 three-pointers, and also had six assists and five rebounds.
Russell Westbrook played 40 minutes and contributed with 20 points on 5–15 shooting, 1–3 threes, and also added seven rebounds and five assists.
Malik Monk scored 17 points off the bench; he was 6–11 shooting, 3–6 from threes, and added eight rebounds and an assist.
Monk said of James: “That’s what he does, takes control of the game. I watched him my whole life. I’m just blessed being there with him and learning from him every day.”
Monk added that the team was able to bond, saying “after the Detroit game we came together,” following the incident where James was ejected for striking Stewart. The Lakers came together to protect James as Stewart used force on several occasions attempting to seek retaliation.
Tonight, James made history passing Kobe Bryant (471) in all-time overtime career points since 1996–97, with 473 points.
Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington both contributed 14 points off the bench.
DeAndre Jordan scored four and had 11 rebounds, while Dwight Howard scored eight and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Lakers rested the ill Anthony Davis with the night off, since James was back in the line-up.
The Lakers trailed early in the game and spent most of the time playing from behind by as much as 11 points in the second quarter, and 12 points in the third quarter.
The Lakers chipped away at the deficit, finally taking a 103–102 lead with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, from Monk’s two free throws.
James scored seven of the Lakers points in a row to a six-point lead with 1:17 remaining in the game.
But the Pacers responded with Justin Holiday and Chris Duarte each hitting a three-pointer in the final 27.3 seconds.
With 6.5 seconds remaining, Duarte swished a spectacular three-pointer that tied the game 112–112 to go to overtime. He was closely guarded by Avery Bradley in the deep left-corner beyond the arc, and made the shot as he was falling out of bounds.
The rookie, Duarte, came off of the bench with a big 17-point contribution for the Pacers; he was 7–18, 3–10 from threes, and added three boards and an assist.
However, the Lakers dominated the overtime period, allowing the Pacers to just four points scoring.
James had missed the potential game-winner at the end of regulation, but was basically perfect thereafter on another step-back three-pointer from beyond the left key, and also a turnaround fadeaway from the left corner.
The Pacers were led by Malcolm Brogdon with 28 points, from 9–21 shooting, 5–10 three-pointers, seven rebounds, and two assists.
There were seven Pacers who scored double-figures.
Justin Holiday hit four three-pointers of 16 points scored. T.J. McConnell and Caris LeVert each scored 10 points.
Myles Turner contributed 12 points, and Domantas Sabonis recorded his 14th double-double of the season, with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers finished their road trip with a 2–3 record. They return home to host Sacramento on Friday night.
The Pacers will host Toronto on Friday night.