Back from suspension, LeBron James leads the win over Pacers

LeBron James during the game with the Lakers. / REUTERS

The spoiler scored 39 points, eight of them in two minutes of extra time

After serving the first penalty game of his career, LeBron James displayed his best version of the season with 39 points in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Lakers win over the Indiana Pacers in overtime.

LeBron, with a count of 39 points, 6 rebounds and 5 triples, led the 124-116 win at Indianapolis against Anthony Davis’ sick leave.

The Pacers, led by point guard Malcolm Brogdon (28 points), held the reins for most of the game until the Lakers took the lead (101-100) for the first time with 4:30 left.

LeBron, who had to receive medical attention for a blow by Domantas Sabonis (14 points and 12 rebounds) in the eyebrow, charged the team on his back with 9 points in the last five minutes.

The Los Angeles team got to be 6 points ahead (110-104) with just over a minute to play but a triple by Justin Holiday brought the Pacers closer.

With 6.5 seconds off the horn, Chris Duarte (17 points) nailed another unlikely triple from the corner and off balance that sent the game into extra time.

LeBron didn’t take the blow and clinched the win with another 8 points in overtime, including two long 3-pointers celebrated with rage. The 39 points were the best scoring of the season for the forward, who will turn 37 in December.

James also starred in the curious action of the match. At the halfway point of overtime, the forward called the attention of a referee to a couple of young fans sitting in the front row, who were ejected by members of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse security.

Suspension “not justified”

The game against the Pacers was the return of “King James” after missing the game against the Knicks on Tuesday for the first suspension of his 18 years in the NBA.

Two days earlier, LeBron had been sent off – for the second time in his career – after a fierce brawl with Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, whom he hit hard in the face in a contest for a rebound.

Stewart also received a two-game penalty for his repeated attempts to start a fight on the court.

This Wednesday, LeBron said that his blow to Stewart was “accidental” and that he later apologized to his rival, for which he believes he did not deserve the subsequent sanction.

“I’m definitely not that type of player,” said James.

“I think he deserved the expulsion for what happened after (…) The suspension I do not think it was justified, but the league made that decision and it is fine,” he settled.

The Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans, the worst teams of the season, scored surprising victories against the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, who are located in the Upper East.

Houston, which had not known victory since Oct. 22, beat the Bulls 118-113 to end a 15-game losing streak.

The Pelicans posted their fourth win of the season by beating the Wizards 127-102 with 26 points from forward Brandon Ingram.

The Sacramento Kings offered the first win to their new interim manager, Alvin Gentry, substitute since Sunday for the sacked Luke Walton, by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 125-121.

For their part, the Brooklyn Nets rose to the leadership of the East with a resounding 123-104 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Kevin Durant signed 21 points and 8 assists and James Harden another 20 and 11 against the Celtics from an erratic Jayson Tatum (15 points), who went down 29.

In the last game of the day, the Golden State Warriors beat some Philadelphia 76ers 116-96 orphaned of their three stars: Embiid, Simmons and Harris.

The Curry brothers were the top scorers of the clash, with Stephen scoring 25 points with 10 assists for the Warriors and Seth another 24 points for the Sixers.

The NBA will stop its activity on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Results of the day of Wednesday in the NBA:

Cleveland Cavaliers – Phoenix Suns: 115-120

Indiana Pacers – LA Lakers: 116-124 (overtime)

Orlando Magic – Charlotte Hornets: 99-106

Boston Celtics – Brooklyn Nets: 104-123

Milwaukee Bucks – Detroit Pistons: 114-93

Houston Rockets – Chicago Bulls: 118-113

Memphis Grizzlies – Toronto Raptors: 113-126

Minnesota Timberwolves – Miami Heat: 113-101

New Orleans Pelicans – Washington Wizards: 127-102

Oklahoma City Thunder – Utah Jazz: 104-110

San Antonio Spurs – Atlanta Hawks: 106-124

Sacramento Kings – Portland Trail Blazers: 125-121

Golden State Warriors – Philadelphia 76ers: 116-96




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