LeBron returns after missing 17 games

Sherman Parsons
February 5, 2019

On Wednesday, Lakers head coach Luke Walton spoke about how James has looked at practice as of late.

"The groin feels pretty good, it's a little sore right now but I already knew that".

"We all just want to get back into the zone, we're very good when we're whole, that's the most important force", James said.

The four-time MVP, who missed 17 games due to a groin injury, scored a team-high 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and delivered 9 assists in his first National Basketball Association game since Christmas Day.

The Lakers led by 14 early in the fourth quarter, but the Clippers pulled within two on a three-point play by backup center Boban Marjanovic with 7:25 remaining.

LeBron James may have missed 17 games, but his near triple-double performance against the Los Angeles Clippers led the Lakers to a 123-120 overtime win.

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Meaning, if the Lakers win tonight, they'll only be a game back of the eighth seed with a healthy James on the roster.

The five-week absence was the longest of James' illustrious career, and he admitted it had been tough to stay positive while on the sideline. The Lakers entered Wednesday in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 26-25 record - including a 6-11 mark since James went down on December 25.

Kyle Kuzma (left hip strain) and Josh Hart (left knee tendinitis) also returned Thursday. Everybody was huge. It is going to be different guys every night for our team.

Fortunately for them, Lance Stephenson continued to make timely shots and finished with 20 points while tying a career-high with five 3-pointers.

The Lakers lost 11 of 17 games since James suffered a strained groin in a game against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

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