Lakers Receive Lift They Need From (Guess Who?) LeBron James

Not surprisingly, LeBron James returned and all was right for the Lakers again.LeBron James

James has been serving a one-game suspension for a dustup on Sunday vs. the Pistons. Then the Lakers (10-10) lost Tuesday on the road against the Knicks.

But James returned, scored 39 points, and lifted the Lakers past the Pacers in overtime on Wednesday. (As an aside, it came without Anthony Davis, who missed the game with a fever.)

“It’s winning time,” James said of his big plays in OT. “I understand my teammates are going to be looking to me to make plays. I had the ball in my hands a lot, so I just tried to come on for them.”

James admitted that he was frustrated with the suspension.

“Obviously I love the game of basketball and just having the game taken away from you, it’s frustration,” he said. “Eager to get back on the floor and happy to be back in the lineup with my guys tonight, and just tried to make some plays in the fourth quarter and overtime.”

The Lakers pulled it off with a smaller-ball lineup, as Russell Westbrook tacked on 20 points and a few big plays of his own.

“This is a new era of basketball: Five perimeter players, using that space to attack and switching things defensively,” coach Frank Vogel said. “But I was just proud of our guys for how we competed on the defensive end. And how we stayed in the game.”

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