Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James returned to the lineup on Saturday following a five-game absence and led his team to a 122-115 win over the New York Knicks. James, who cleared to play just before the tipoff, had a triple-double as he scored 13 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 10 assists.
The Lakers were down 13 after the first quarter and down by 15 at the half. The Lakers, led by James, outscored the Knicks 31-13 in the third quarter. The Knicks forced an overtime but the Lakers dominated it escape with a win.
The Lakers now own a 26-28 record and sit at No. 9 on the Western Conference Standings. "After the first quarter, the knee loosened up a lot more," James said, according to ESPN. "My mind loosened up a lot more.
And I was just able to play basketball. But just excited to be back in the uniform, back on the floor with my guys. Missed them, missed the game. I was happy I was able to make a few plays and help us win a ballgame."
James left Anthony Davis impressed
Davis himself had a big performance as he notched 28 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks.
"It's a hell of a return," Davis said. "He's doing LeBron-type things. Expected nothing less from him. Efficient from the field. S---, he did what he's supposed to do. He helped us, for sure. So, I missed him.
He's a big part of our team with his voice, his leadership, play-making ability. And he came back and showed it." Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was left in awe by James' return. "He's incredible," Vogel said.
"I guess the time off served him well. We didn't want to play him 39 minutes and obviously the overtime impacted that, but just played a great basketball game. His defensive competitive spirit and IQ is everything to us and the way he scores the basketball in all ways and the way he sets up teammates it's just, it's rare and he was special tonight.
Just a great performance." Vogel acknowledged James makes life easier on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor. "I mean obviously the computer -- his ability to process and read offensively, it's something that's always missed," Vogel said.
"You miss him on both ends, but I would say in this situation, late game, that's where you miss him the most."