The King is back.
LeBron James returned from an almost three-week absence for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics on Friday night. James had been out of the Lakers lineup since November 2, missing the team’s past seven games with an abdominal strain.
He was listed as a game-time decision with the team announcing he would play just before tip-off.
Prior to his injury, James was averaging 24.8 points – his lowest scoring average since his rookie season – while also averaging his least amount of rebounds (5.5) also since his rookie campaign and his least amount of assists (7.0) since 2015-16. Most concerning was his shooting percentage (46.7 percent) which was also his lowest since 2003-04.
James played 32 minutes against Boston, and looked like his old self for large parts of the contest, hitting fadeaways, and taking it strong to the basket and absorbing contact.
He finished with 23 points (10-for-16 from the field), six rebounds, two assists and two steals before exiting the game for good with 4:26 left in the final quarter.
He played 32 minutes and recorded a team-best plus-minus of -4, among Lakers players to have logged more than 20 minutes.
“Felt okay,” James said postgame. “Felt like a rookie again being away from the game.”
With the 130-108 loss, the Lakers have dropped to 8-9 for the season and 4-3 in games when James suits up.