LeBron James moves within 100 points of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, into 4th all-time in assists in win over Knicks
LeBron James does it all.
The Los Angeles Lakers star moved within striking distance of the NBA’s all-time scoring title on Tuesday while passing a pair of point guard greats on the career assist chart.
James entered Tuesday needing 117 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. He’s that much closer after a 28-point effort in a 129-123 win over the New York Knicks in overtime. He now has 38,299 points and trails Abdul-Jabbar by 89.
James secured his first triple-double of the season, adding 10 rebounds and 11 assists. That’s also a milestone. He’s now the first NBA player to record a triple-double in his 20th season.
James outdueled Knicks guard Jalen Brunsen, who posted 37 points and 6 assists while making plays down the stretch to keep the Knicks in the game. But James’ Lakers held on in overtime after giving up a 6-0 Knicks run in the final 1:33 of regulation to send the game to the extra session.
LeBron passes Jackson, Nash
James is also climbing up the all-time assists leaderboard. He started Tuesday’s game needing nine assists to pass both Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to move into fourth all-time. He passed Jackson with his eighth dish of the night then passed Nash with his ninth via a bounce pass in traffic to set up a Thomas Bryant dunk in the fourth quarter.
Only John Stockton (15,806), Jason Kidd (12,901) and Chris Paul (11,246) have more assists than James (10,328). James is the only non-point guard to crack the top 20. While the scoring chase is in the spotlight, James’ greatness as a passer and all-around player remains on full display.
The Lakers picked up the much-needed win as they look to move into playoff position. With the win, they improved to 24-28, two games behind the 10th-place Utah Jazz who would claim the Western Conference’s final play-in spot if the regular season ended on Tuesday.
LeBron James breaking scoring record is just a matter of time
James isn’t pursuing Kareem’s record on the late-stage fumes of his remarkable career. Far from it. His 30.2-point scoring average through 40 games would stand as the third-highest scoring rate of his 20 NBA seasons.
James averaged 20.9 points per game as a rookie and hasn’t dipped below that pace since. He’s on pace to break Abdul-Jabbar’s record in 100-plus fewer games played than his fellow Lakers great. Abdul-Jabbar reached his tally of 38,387 points in 1,560 games; the Lakers’ game against the Knicks was the 1,407th of James’ career.
The pace has James on track to pass Abdul-Jabbar against the Thunder on Feb. 7 if he doesn’t miss any games. Here’s the upcoming slate of Lakers games as James pursues one of the last great milestones of his basketball career.
Thursday: at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET
Saturday: at New Orleans Pelicans, 8 p.m. ET
Feb. 7: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 10:30 p.m. ET
Feb. 9: vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 10 p.m. ET (TNT)
Feb. 11: at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Feb. 13: at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET
Feb. 15: vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)