LeBron James returns for Lakers against Clippers

Luke Walton

Luke Walton

"What I know of him, he's probably pretty locked in right now, ready to compete", Walton said before Thursday's game.

"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.

James - who finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists - had a driving layup blocked in the dying seconds of the game, his first since December following a groin injury.

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.

James certainly had his moments throughout the Lakers' 123-120 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

James called the 36-day absence some of the darkest days of his career.

The 16-time National Basketball Association champions went 6-11 during LeBron's absence, falling from fourth to ninth in the Western Conference rankings and remain one point behind the Clippers, who now hold the final playoff berth in the west.

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"I'll gain my rhythm as the season continues, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow".

James made a fallaway jumper to break a 118-118 tie with 1:15 left in overtime, and Stephenson followed with a three-point play for a 123-118 Lakers lead with 45 seconds remaining. "We are starting to get our depth back".

All things are coming up Klutch lately, and if Rich Paul and LeBron James have their way, this won't be the last big news for Klutch Sports before the All-Star game.

LeBron scored 53.3 FanDuel points in the win.

"That's the best time where you can come together as a team when you're on the road and it's just us".

The game could go either way, but the Lakers really, really need it go their way.

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