LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James made the tie-breaking 3-pointer in overtime and followed with a back-breaking 3 in his return from the first suspension of his career to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat Indiana 124-116 on Wednesday night.
James finished with 37 points on 13-of-29 shooting and had six assists and five rebounds, with the Lakers playing without Anthony Davis because of flu-like symptoms.
On Sunday night in a victory at Detroit, James was ejected from for striking Pistons center Isaiah Stewart in the face and drawing blood. The NBA suspended him a game and he sat out the Lakers’ loss at New York on Tuesday night.
The Lakers finished a five-game trip with their second victory in six games.
Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana with 28 points, and Chris Duarte had 17. Indiana never trailed until Malik Monk’s go-ahead 3 with 4:35 left in regulation.
But the Lakers sure didn’t play championship basketball. Instead, the game had all the trademarks of a pre-holiday contest at the end of a long trip — inconsistent play, sloppiness and at times bad basketball.
Still, James & Co. found a way to finally deliver the knockout blow.
James’ first 3 in overtime made it 117-114 with 2:51 left. Aminute later, he made another to extend the margin to six and added a midrange jumper before Wayne Ellington closed it out. Indiana managed only one basket in the final three minutes.
Russell Westbrook had 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Monk had 17 points. Carmelo Anthony and Ellington each added 14. … DeAndre Jordan had 11 rebounds and Dwight Howard had nine. … Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore also did not play and were not on the pregame injury report.
The Lakers will be back in action at home on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings.
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