James' unorthodox feed came in the second quarter of the Lakers' 101-96 triumph Sunday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The Lakers held a 45-39 lead with about two minutes remaining in the first half when Howard grabbed a rebound and tossed the ball to James to start a breakaway.
James sprinted down the right flank before curling toward the top of the 3-point arc. He cut his dribble inside and entered the paint before picking up the ball and throwing it backward, bouncing it between his legs. The pass found a trailing Howard as he ran into the paint.
Howard caught the ball and took flight. He pulled the ball back in his right hand and threw it through the rim, increasing the Lakers' lead to eight points.
"I just tried to catch it and finish and give our team some energy," Howard told reporters.
James scored a game-high 32 points and had 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers. Howard had two points and seven rebounds in the win. Anthony Davis added 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers. Trae Young led the Hawks with 30 points.
"Sometimes plays just develop on their own," James said. "It's my job as the ball handler to see the whole floor. Dwight was trailing down the middle and I caught a glimpse of him with my peripheral [vision]. I just tried to look off the defense and saw the big fellow trailing down the middle."
The Lakers face the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. EST Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Hawks battle the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"I'm trying to do whatever it takes to help my team win," James said. "I was happy I was able to make a few plays [Sunday] to help us do that."