LeBron James returned after serving the first penalty game of his career and the Pacers paid the plates. The leading forward suffered the Lakers triumph with 39 points, eight of them followed in just two minutes of overtime. He added five rebounds and six assists.
The Lakers star had plenty of reasons to be motivated. First of all, that sanction that prevented him from playing at Madison Square Garden. The second, the absence of Anthony Davis due to a feverish process that left him as the main reference of the Los Angeles team. “I was excited to be in the lineup. I knew I could give our guys a boost of energy in Game 2 on consecutive days,” he said.
The Lakers were almost always behind. In fact, they didn’t get ahead until 4:35 left in regulation time when Malik Monk’s 3-pointer, who finished with 17 points, made it 100-101. The score remained level until the end. With 22 seconds remaining, Russell Westbrook (20 + 7 + 5) made two free throws that gave the Angelenos three points ahead, but Chris Duarte tied at 112 with six seconds left.
LeBron failed the triple that would have given his team the victory without the need for extra time, but in overtime they no longer forgiven. He scored two triples in a row and then one more basket to open a definitive gap (122-116) and give the victory to his team, which had lost four of the last five games.
“I know LeBron wanted to get this win. He really wanted to play in that Knicks home game, he looks forward to it every year. So bouncing back tonight, being a defensive quarterback and running the offense like he did, is a great one, “courage coach Frank Vogel.