LeBron James proved on Tuesday he remains one of the best players in the world, inspiring the Los Angeles Lakers to an overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers.
James ended the night with 39 points, five rebounds and six assists, shooting 5-for 12 (41.6%) from beyond the arc. His deep 3 late in the fourth quarter almost secured the win for the Lakers in regular time before the Pacers tied the game thanks to a miraculous 3-pointer from Chris Duarte.
The four-time NBA champion then sank two more dagger 3s from over 27 feet in overtime, dealing Indiana the final blow. After the game, James’ stunning performance left his younger teammate, Malik Monk, in awe.
“That’s what he does (laughs),” Monk said. “That’s why he the GOAT, man. Took control of the game. Let everybody know there’s no rush. He is going to bring us home and that’s what I’ve seen. I’ve been watching my whole life.
“He is like our [Michael] Jordan, my generation. I’m just blessed to be out there with him and just learn from him every day.”
Monk emphasized James’ boundless knowledge of the game, which made a difference in the four-time NBA champion’s return from his one-game suspension.
“He knows every play,” the 23-yea-old guard said. “He knows every play from every team. He knows what’s coming. He’s been in this situation too many times not to know what’s going on and not to communicate with us and us being better is him communicating and letting us know everything while he’s in the backline.”
Asked about James’ importance to the Lakers, Monk only doubled down on gushing over the 36-year-old All-Star.
“Everything, man. Everything,” he said.
“Like I said, he’s the anchor. He just brings us together. He does everything for us. Talks, communicates, coaching sometimes. Lets us know what positions to be in. He’s everything.”
Monk himself played a major role in the Lakers’ comeback victory. He ended up with 17 points and eight rebounds, shooting 3-for-6 from behind the 3-point line.
James was ‘happy to be back’ in lineup for clash with Pacers
James didn’t hide his joy over making his return to the Lakers’ lineup for the Wednesday clash.
“Obviously I love the game of basketball and just having the game taken away from you, it’s frustration and eager to get back out on the floor,” he said.
“Happy to be back in the lineup with my guys tonight, tried to make some plays. Fourth quarter and overtime, I understand my teammates are gonna be looking for me to make plays. I had the ball a lot in my hands so I just tried to come through for them.”
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