James returns as he and Davis send Lakers by Pacers 122-115

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 28 points and LeBron James returned after a six-game absence to score 24 Saturday to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 122-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

The Lakers can notch the No. 6 seed if they win at New Orleans on Sunday and Portland loses to Denver that ay. If the Lakers finish No. 7, they will be in the play-in tournament against the No. 8 seed.

Davis, who missed the previous game because of a tight left thigh, sank 9 of 18 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds. James played 28 minutes, hitting 11 of 22 shots. James had eight assists and seven rebounds.

James had missed the last six games trying to recover from high ankle sprain. He missed six weeks and then returned to play two games. Davis had missed Wednesday’s game with Houston. Andre Drummond had 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who held a 45-37 rebounding edge.

The Lakers led 111-97 before the Pacers scored 11 straight points to trim the lead to 111-108 with 3:07 left. James then took over by scoring the next seven points, starting with a 3-pointer to put the Lakers up 118-110.

Caris LeVert, who was questionable entering the game with knee injury, was high for the Pacers with 28. JaKarr Sampson came off the bench to score 20.

The Pacers could finish with the No. 8, 9 or 10 seed. The Pacers are tied with Charlotte and Washington at 33-38, but would lose the tiebreaker against both teams if tied.

The Lakers led 64-56 at halftime and 96-88 after three quarters.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Captured the two-game season series with the Pacers, previously winning 105-100 March 12. … Dennis Schroder returned after missing seven games because of the NBA’s safety and health protocol. Schroder finished with 14 points … Alex Caruso, who had been sidelined with sore left foot, was available but Lakers coach Frank Vogel chose to rest him.

Pacers: With Domantas Sabonis sidelined, Goga Bitadze made just his third start of the season. … In his third game back after missing six games with a concussion, JaKarr Sampson scored a Pacers career-high 20 points. His previous high with the Pacers was 16.

PACERS’ INJURIES MOUNT

The short-handed Pacers took another blow when they had to play without Domantas Sabonis, who injured his left quad against Milwaukee on Thursday night and wasn’t able to go.

Edmond Sumner (knee) and Aaron Holiday (toe) missed their third consecutive game

Indiana has been without Myles Turner (toe) since April 18 and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) since April 29.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Play at New Orleans on Sunday.

Pacers: Play Toronto at Tampa, Florida, on Sunday.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Mark Ambrogi, The Associated Press