(CNN) – A record in the season and the expulsion of two fans. The return from suspension was going to put LeBron James in the spotlight, but even by his standards, Wednesday night was hectic.
The Los Angeles Lakers star returned to the court for the first time after the second ejection of his career – which occurred against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday – and the 36-year-old released any trace of frustration with a 124 overtime victory. 116 over the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
Despite the absence of Anthony Davis sick, LeBron James broke out with a season-high 39 points in the game – seven of which came in overtime – as well as six assists and five rebounds to lead his team to victory.
Point guard Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers’ numbers with 28 points, seven rebounds and two assists, as the team fell to 8-12 in the East.
The Lakers trailed for most of the game, only taking the lead for the first time late in the fourth quarter, before two 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds from the Pacers, Justin Holiday and Chris Duarte, led the way. overtime match.
James, the 17-time All-Star, hit two 3s that outscored the Pacers in overtime, and the Lakers held firm to equal their season record at 10-10.
Two fans sent off
There was another ejection in a Lakers game, but this time it wasn’t from a player. On Sunday, James was expelled after he met Pistons star Isaiah Stewart in the face, an altercation that triggered a confrontational reaction from Stewart and a brawl on the court.
The NBA sanctioned Stewart with two games of suspension for “aggravating” the situation and persecuting “repeatedly and aggressively” James, who in turn was sanctioned with one game for “recklessly striking” the Pistons center in the face.
Midway through overtime against the Pacers, James spoke to the umpire and appeared to be gesturing to two fans sitting on the court. The couple were then escorted through the security of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“There is a difference between cheering for the home team, booing the opponent, not wanting the opponent to succeed, and then there are times when the limit is crossed with obscene gestures and words,” James told reporters when asked about the incident after the game.
“That shouldn’t be tolerated in our game by anyone. I would never tell a fan and a fan should never tell a player.”
James also shed more light on his own expulsion on Sunday, revealing that he had not spoken to Stewart since the incident which he says was strictly “accidental.”
“I went to apologize to him and you guys saw what happened next,” James said.
“It was definitely accidental, I’m not that type of player. I hate to see what escalated after that. I thought I deserved an expulsion for what happened next … but a suspension, I didn’t think it was justified.”
“A performance for posterity”
Aside from the sending-off drama, Lakers coach Frank Vogel was simply glad to have his superstar back and to witness “a performance for posterity.”
“I know I wanted to get this win,” Vogel said.
“He really wanted to play in that game against the Knicks, he looks forward to it every year. So to come back tonight, run the defense and run the offense the way he did, that’s just a performance for posterity.”
On the other hand, the Golden State Warriors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 116-96. In a family affair, the Warriors ‘Steph Curry outscored his younger brother, Seth, with 25 points, for the Western Conference leaders’ fifth straight victory.
In terms of streaks, the Phoenix Suns continued their hot streak with a fourteenth consecutive win, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-115, while the Houston Rockets snapped a 15-game losing streak with a surprising 118- victory. 113 over the Chicago Bulls.