LeBron James congratulates Ben Simmons for making first All-Star game

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Ingram added 19 points, and Rajon Rondo had 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers.

He said: "I was good enough to feel confident to just keep pushing throughout the game".

"Definitely ecstatic about being back out there with my guys, but being out five weeks, I'm feeling it right now", James said afterward.

On Thursday, James returned to the court after missing 17 games with a groin injury he suffered back on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.

This season, James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.

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Yahoo Sources: After missing almost five weeks with a groin injury, Lakers star LeBron James plans to make his return tonight against the Clippers.

James was considered "doubtful" to play against the Clippers Thursday morning, but had ramped up his return over the Lakers' last two practices.

"I'll gain my rhythm as the season continues, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow".

The five-week absence was the longest of James' illustrious career, and he admitted it had been tough to stay positive while on the sideline. "I told our coaches then, he's in".

James played 40 minutes after not playing at all for 37 days in a 123-120 overtime win over the Clippers.

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The Lakers went 6-11 during James' absence and fell out of a potential playoff spot.

Six players scored in double figures for the losing squad, as Lou Williams had a team-high 24 points.

The Clippers were already without second-leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who sat out his seventh consecutive game because of a back injury.

The game could go either way, but the Lakers really, really need it go their way.

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