LeBron James made a huge comeback from a knee injury that made him miss straight five games, at Crypto.com Arena on February 5, 2022 in Los Angeles.
Leading the Los Angeles Lakers with a 122-115 overtime win against the New York Knicks, James’s knee seems to be just fine. After scoring 29 points with 13 rebounds and 10 assists in 40 minutes, James proved a remarkable comeback, giving the purple and gold army a huge boost of their reputation.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said, “[LeBron]’s incredible. I guess the time off served him well. We didn’t want to play him 39 minutes, but overtime impacted that.”
LeBron first game back:
It’s his 15th triple-double after turning 35, the most in NBA history. The next guy has 8 (Jason Kidd). pic.twitter.com/98gUZw97bV
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 6, 2022
Lakers returning moments with James
In the first half of the opening night, it looked like it was going to be a long hassle for James and the Lakers when Knicks dominated with 21-6. However, the Knicks’ lead was just temporary.
As the Lakers found its rhythm in the court, the team outscored the Knicks by 18 points with 31-13 in the third quarter. It was their very first lead of the night.
“He was special tonight. Just a great performance,” said Vogel.
James admitted that in the beginning, he was a bit tight after not playing for a while because of his swelling knee. “After the first quarter, the knee loosened up a lot more, my mind loosened up a lot more and I was able just to play basketball,” James said. “Happy I was able to make a few plays to help us win.”
Later, he was his own self with his skillful play and scored. “He’s doing LeBron-type things — efficient from the field; he did what he was supposed to do,” said Davis.
With the help of his teammates, Davis and Monk decided to take matters into their own hands too. In addition, Russell Westbrook also manages to score five points.
Knicks slip, Los Angeles clinch the win
Meanwhile, for the Knicks who played fairly well at the beginning of the quarters, Knicks was beaten from the third one.
“I liked the start of the game. We probably didn’t close out the second quarter as well as we liked,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And then the third quarter was problematic. So, then we had a good fight down the stretch, and didn’t get it done.”
“That’s a game we should’ve won. I felt like overall obviously we played well, but not good enough,” Knicks forward RJ Barrett said.
With two minutes left on the clock of the fourth quarter, Julius Randle, power forward, made an easy layup when James seemed to have made the jump earlier to block Randle as if James was just waiting for Randle to release the ball. It was epic and to surprise everyone who was watching, James hung in the air for more than 5 seconds.
James successfully blocked the ball yet his other hand seemed to shove Randle down, causing the Knicks to receive shots of free-throw.
In the last second of the fourth quarter, the Lakers won by 8 points but Barrett successfully tied things up with a clean dunk and then a wild 3-pointer. Here comes the overtime.
In the 5-minute overtime, the Lakers rolled in easily when they run 9-2 opening. The Lakers closed that night with 122-115 on Saturday. That night, Randle from Knicks finished with 32 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists for the Knicks to go with Barrett’s 36 points.
Barrett also finished with eight rebounds and five assists. Davis from Lakers with 26 points and 17 rebounds, and Malik Monk with 29 points.