DALLAS — LeBron James sustained a right foot injury late in the third quarter in Sunday’s 111-108 win against the Dallas Mavericks but was able to finish out the game and help the Los Angeles Lakers pull off the biggest comeback victory in the NBA this season.
“It’s been better,” James said when asked about his foot afterwards. “That’s for sure. But I definitely wasn’t going to go to the locker room and not finish the game out tonight. Just understood the importance of the game and then with the momentum that we had, I felt like we could still win after being down.
“We’ll monitor it the next couple days, see how it feels and go from there.”
The Lakers trailed by as many as 27 points in the first half but had cut the Mavs’ lead to 75-71 when James drove on Dwight Powell and missed a layup with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter after tweaking his foot when planting his sneaker in the paint.
The floor microphones on the ABC telecast captured James, laying on the court after the injury, turning to the Lakers bench to tell his team, “I heard a pop.”
Lakers coach Darvin Ham, who kept James in the game immediately after the injury and played the 20-year veteran an additional 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, was unaware of James’ message for the bench.
“I didn’t hear that,” Ham said after the game. “I didn’t hear him say that at all.”
James finished with 26 points on 10-for-23 shooting, adding eight rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes. The 27-point deficit that L.A. overcame was the biggest comeback by a team this season.
James scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, after the foot injury occurred, relying on post footwork and up-and-under moves to get open looks on several possessions.
“When you’re that good, you can — I’m not gonna say, ‘Play with the game,’ but he’s obviously really athletic and if it hindered him a little bit rolling his ankle, he’s got that to go to,” said Lakers wing Austin Reaves. “So it speaks to his skillset.”
The Lakers are spending the night in Dallas on Sunday before flying to Memphis on Monday to continue their three-game road trip with a back-to-back against the Grizzlies on Tuesday and Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
“He’s good,” Ham said. “Our medical people are looking at him now. He’ll be re-evaluated again in the morning. So once we get some type of official word tomorrow, we’ll go from there. But as of right now, he’s good.”