LOS ANGELES – LeBron James returned from a five-game absence due to injury and had a triple-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 21-point, second-quarter deficit, beating the New York Knicks 122-115 in overtime Saturday night.
James missed the games due to swelling in his left knee, but came back to play in a nationally televised game and with the Lakers three games under .500.
“He’s incredible. I guess the time off served him well," coach Frank Vogel said. "We didn’t want to play him 39 minutes, but overtime impacted that.
"He was special tonight. Just a great performance.”
It was the Lakers' largest comeback since they rallied from 21 down at Denver in 2015.
James was 13 of 24 from the field and tied a season high in rebounds. The Lakers led the entire five-minute overtime after James drove the floor and dunked after RJ Barrett turned it over.
It was James' fourth triple-double of the season, the 103rd of his career and fifth against the Knicks.
“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.”
Malik Monk scored 29 points and Anthony Davis added 28 points and 17 rebounds for the Lakers, who had dropped four of five coming in.
“He’s doing LeBron type things — efficient from the field; he did what he was supposed to do," said Davis, who had a double-double for the fourth straight game. "He’s a big part of our team with his voice, leadership and play-making ability. He came back and showed it.”
Barrett scored a career-high 36 points, and Julius Randle had 32 points and 16 rebounds for New York. The Knicks have lost eight of their last 10 games.
“That’s a game we should’ve won. I felt like overall obviously we played well, but not good enough," Barrett said.
Los Angeles trailed 71-56 at halftime before rallying in the third quarter, outscoring the Knicks 31-13. The Lakers were down 75-61 less than 2 1/2 minutes into the quarter before going on a 21-6 run over a nearly six-minute span to take the lead.
Monk had 10 of his 18 third-quarter points during the run, including a pair of 3-pointers. Davis scored four, including a driving layup with 3:50 remaining to give the Lakers an 82-80 lead. Los Angeles took an 87-84 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lakers extended extend their lead to 108-99 with 2:22 remaining, before the Knicks went on a 13-3 run and forced overtime. Barrett fueled the run with seven points, including a 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining that tied the score at 111-all. James had a chance to win it, but missed a 3-pointer in the final second.
New York came out firing and led 11-0 in the first 1:42. The Knicks led 42-29 at the end of the first quarter after Barrett and Randle combined to go 10 of 12 from the field and score 29 points.
The Knicks extended their lead to 68-47 with 1:57 remaining in the first half on a running dunk by Randle before the Lakers went on a 9-3 run to get within 15 at halftime.
“I liked the start of the game. We probably didn’t close out the second quarter as well as we liked," Knicks 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.”
Knicks: It was the first time this season New York has put up 40 or more points in the first quarter. It is the most points they scored in the first 12 minutes since they had 45 against the Clippers on Jan. 5, 2020. ... Randle was called for a technical foul with 28.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Lakers: Davis tied a season high with seven offensive rebounds. ... The 45 points in the first quarter were the most allowed in the first quarter in Vogel's three-seasons. ... Carmelo Anthony (hamstring) and Dwight Howard (back tightness) missed the game due to injuries.
Knicks: Visit Utah on Monday night.
Lakers: Host Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
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