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Just when the Lakers needed him most, he vanished (and did fairly alright without him, to be fair). But ol’ King James is finally back after missing 13 NBA games to take on the Chicago Bulls Sunday afternoon.
The Lakers announced that LeBron James had been upgraded to ‘questionable’ (right foot injury) for Sunday’s contest after initially being ruled doubtful to play on Saturday.
Los Angeles went 8-5 in James’ absence, amid a fight for play-in tournament seeding in the Western Conference.
James is a lock to play in Sunday’s game, but he will do so off the bench. It will be LeBron’s second time coming off the bench in his 20 NBA seasons. His last performance coming off the bench came against the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 11, 2007. James scored 17 points, adding three rebounds and five assists.
The Lakers reached moderate success while James was out, begging the question of whether the reintegration of the 38-year-old will mess up any chemistry with the team’s budding role players.
Undrafted guard Austin Reaves has been on a tear with LeBron out. Trade deadline acquisitions Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell have been gelling with the more time allotted on the floor.
The Lakers also reached .500 for the first time ALL SEASON with a 116-111 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
All eyes will be on whether LeBron will keep the momentum going or derail this late-season push by the LakeShow. LA is eighth in the Western Conference standings (37-37).
This season, LeBron is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
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