INDIANAPOLIS — Lakers coach Frank Vogel liked what he saw of LeBron James’ return
“It is going to take time to get his timing back to 100 percent, but for most of the game he looked good,” Vogel said. “He looked like his old self again.”
James, back after a six-game absence, scored 24 points, including seven key points late, to lead the Lakers to a 122-115 victory over the Pacers on Saturday. Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points.
The Lakers can notch the No. 6 seed if they win at New Orleans on Sunday and Portland loses to Denver that day. If the Lakers finish No. 7, they will be in the play-in tournament against the No. 8 seed.
James was out for the past six games while recovering from a high ankle sprain. He missed six weeks and then returned to play two games.
“It felt a lot better than the last time I came back,” James said. “I felt good coming into the game. I think each game I’ll get better and better. It will take a few games to get it all back. It’s up to coach and training staff if I play [Sunday].”
Davis, who missed the previous game Wednesday in Houston because of a tight left thigh, sank 9 of 18 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds. James played 28 minutes, hitting 11 of 22 shots. James had eight assists and seven rebounds.
“I felt great the entire time,” Davis said. “It’s nice to get the whole team back out there.”
Andre Drummond had 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who held a 45-37 rebounding edge.
Former Net Caris LeVert, who was questionable entering the game with a knee injury, was high for the Pacers with 28. JaKarr Sampson came off the bench to score 20.
“JaKarr played one heck of game,” Bjorkgren said. “He was really aggressive and really physical. He was playing as hard as he can.