Malcolm Brogdon, points guard, led the Pacers’ scoring with 28 points, seven rebounds and assists, while Indiana fell to 8-12 in the East.
The Lakers were late for most of the game, only going forward for the first time late in the fourth quarter before Pacers pair Justin Holiday and Chris Duarte sent the game into overtime.
Enter James: The 17-time All-Star team sank three times en route to defeating the Pacers single-handedly in overtime, as the Lakers kept their nerve until their season record at 10-10.
Stewart was later given a two-game ban by the NBA for “escalating” the situation and “over and over” for stalking James, who himself received a one-game ban for “recklessly hitting” the Pistons in the face.
Halfway through extra time against the Pacers, James spoke to the referee and appeared to be referring to two fans sitting on the field. The pair was subsequently escorted by security from Ginbridge Fieldhouse.
James told reporters when asked about the incident after the game: “There is a difference between cheering the faithful at home, booing opponents, not wanting your opponents to succeed, and then there are moments where you go off the line with signs and obscene words.”
“No one should tolerate that in our game. I would never say that to a fan and a fan shouldn’t say it to a player.”
James also shed more light on his dismissal on Sunday, revealing he had not spoken to Stewart since the incident which he said was entirely “accidental”.
“I went to apologize to him and saw what happened next,” James said.
“Accidental for sure, I’m not that kind of player. I hate to see what escalates after that. I thought it justified an expulsion for what happened next… But the comment, I didn’t think it was justified.”
Show for ages
Away from the dismissal drama, Lakers coach Frank Vogel was simply delighted with the return of his star and the testament to a “performance for the ages.”
“I know he wanted to get that W,” Vogel said.
“He really wanted to play in that Knicks game, he’s looking forward to that every year. So, to come back tonight, to defend the center back and carry the attack the way he did – that’s just a performance for the ages.”
Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors took a dominant 116-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. A Family Affair saw Warriors Steve Curry lead his younger brother Seth by 25 points to claim a fifth straight win for the Western Conference Leaders.
On the topic of streaks, the Phoenix Suns continued their hot run with their 14th straight win – beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-115 – while the Houston Rockets finished 15-game winning streak with a stunning 118-113 win over Chicago. bulls.