The king is back.
LeBron James is back from a nearly three-week absence for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics on Friday night. James has been out of the Lakers lineup since November 2, missing the team’s past seven games due to a stomach strain.
He was listed as the game-timer with the team announcing that he would be playing shortly before kick-off.
Prior to his injury, James was averaging 24.8 points – his lowest scoring average since rookie season – while also averaging the fewest bounces (5.5) as well. since his rookie season and his fewest assists (7.0) since 2015-16. Of most concern is his shot rate (46.7%), which is also his lowest since 2003-04.
James played 32 minutes against Boston, and looked like his old self for large parts of the competition, hitting fast, hard lines toward the basket and making contact with the ball.
He finished with 23 points (10 for 16 from the field), six rebounds, two assists and two steals before leaving the game with 4:26 remaining in the final inning.
He played 32 minutes and scored the best plus or minus -4 on the team, of any Lakers player to have scored more than 20 minutes.
“Feels fine,” James said after the game. “Feels like a rookie having to leave the game again.”
With a 130-108 loss, the Lakers dropped to 8-9 for the season and 4-3 in games when James was fit.