The Pacers went blow for blow with the Lakers on Wednesday night in a thrilling game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. But as he has so many times over the years, LeBron James dashed the Pacers’ hopes with his shotmaking in crunch time, lifting Los Angeles (10-10) to a 124-116 win over Indiana (8-12).
The loss prevented the Pacers from putting together their first three-game win streak of the season and spoiled some serious heroics from rookie Chris Duarte.
Duarte’s miraculous three sent the game into overtime, but the extra session belonged to James. The Lakers took a 117-114 lead on James’ 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining in the extra session, then he hit another 30-footer to double the lead with 1:52 to play.
That proved to be enough to seal the win, as Indiana went just 2-for-11 in overtime.
James finished with a game-high 39 points, going 13-for-29 from the field, 5-for-12 from 3-point range, and 8-for-9 from the free throw line, while also tallying five rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. It was his first game back after serving the first suspension of his 19-year career on Tuesday in New York.
“He’s one of the greatest players of all time,” Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “He’s been in that situation a thousand times. So he’s not going to shy from the moment. I think that’s what we experienced tonight. He hit some tough shots.”
Brogdon had a team-high 28…