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LeBron James Returns to Lineup, Leads Lakers to Win Against Pacers

LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 52 points as the Lakers' two stars returned from injury to lead Los Angeles to a 122–115 win over the Pacers on Saturday. 

James scored 13 of his total 24 points in the second half while shooting 11-of-22 from the floor in 28 minutes of action. He also had a ferocious one-handed dunk early in the first quarter to get going.

After the game, James told Mike Trudell of the Spectrum Sports Network that his ankle felt "much better" than after his last game in Los Angeles's 121-114 loss to the Raptors.

"There is a tiny bit of soreness but I didn't have a setback today," James said.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before the game that James would not have a minutes restriction but that the team would be responsible. The four-time NBA champ had missed the Lakers' last six games with a high-ankle sprain injury and had played only two games since March 21.

Vogel has not decided if James will play in the Lakers' season finale against the Pelicans on Sunday. James had not played since May 3 when the Lakers lost to the Raptors when he went down midway through the fourth quarter with soreness in his right ankle. He initially sprained his ankle against the Hawks on March 20.

In addition to James's return on Saturday, Davis recorded a double double in his return, leading the Lakers with 28 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes. Davis missed the Lakers' previous game against the Rockets with a sore abductor. 

Vogel told reporters that Davis was held out against Houston mainly due to the fact Los Angeles was on its second night of a back-to-back. Davis scored 22 of his 28 points in the first half against Indiana. 

Lakers guard Dennis Schröder—who returned after missing seven games due to health and safety protocols—finished with 14 points and four assists after a slow start with just three points in 15 minutes in the first half. 

The reigning NBA champs are 5–5 in their last 10 games and earned their fourth-straight win on Saturday.

How Does the NBA Play-In Tournament Work?

With Saturday's win, the Lakers can move out of the No. 7 spot and earn the No. 6 spot with a win against the Pelicans on Sunday and if Portland loses to Denver. If that happens, Los Angeles would face Denver in the first round of the playoffs as it stands currently.

If the Lakers lose to the Pelicans or Portland defeats Denver, Los Angeles will remain in the play-in tournament to play Phoenix or Utah. 

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