LeBron James made an emphatic return to the court after a one-game suspension, logging 39 points, five rebounds and six assists in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 124-116 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. It was James’ first game since serving a one-game suspension for striking Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart with a closed fist in a game on Sunday.
James said his hit on Stewart was accidental and he has not been able to talk to him since the incident which resulted in a two-game suspension for the second-year Pistons center. James said he was trying to “swim through” Stewart’s box out on a free-throw attempt and accidentally hit him in the face, adding that he thought his ejection was the right call, but a suspension was not warranted.
James said frustration and wanting to get back on the floor motivated him Wednesday. James scored eight of the Lakers’ 12 points in overtime, including two of his five 3-pointers. In OT, James also had two fans sitting courtside in Indianapolis ejected, pointing them out to officials.
James didn’t elaborate on what the fans said, but said that there’s a difference between cheering for your team and crossing the line.
“When obscene gestures and language come into it, (it) can’t be tolerated,” James said.
“What LeBron did tonight was a performance for the ages,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said about lineups with James at center Wednesday night, as Anthony Davis was out with an illness. “I know these fans and how much they love their hoops here in Indianapolis. He put on one hell of a show.”
(Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)