MANILA, Philippines – It had been more than a month since LeBron James suited up for the purple and gold, yet the four-time MVP was quickly back in his old ways.
James finished just an assist-shy of a triple-double to power the Los Angeles Lakers past the LA Clippers in overtime, 123-120, in the NBA on Thursday, January 31 (Friday, February 1, Manila time).
Back after missing 17 games due to a groin injury, James pumped in 24 points – including the go-ahead bucket in the extra period that shattered a 118-118 deadlock – on top of 14 rebounds and 9 assists.
Lance Stephenson also came through with a 20-point performance capped by a three-point play that kept the Lakers up, 123-118.
Clippers guard Lou Williams tried to force another overtime but missed a potential game-tying triple at the buzzer.
Williams shot 24 points to lead the Clippers, who came back from 14 points down in the 4th quarter to force overtime.
Still down by 7 points in the last two minutes of regulation, Tobias Harris capped the comeback by knocking in a three-pointer with 35 seconds left to forge the extra period, 112-112.
The Lakers, who lost 11 of 17 games without James, upped their record to 26-25 in the Western Conference.
Brandon Ingram added 19 points and Rajon Rondo had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers.
The Clippers, just a notch higher than the Lakers at 8th place, slipped to 28-23.