LeBron James will not allow himself to think about breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA point scoring record despite moving into second spot on Saturday.

Four-time NBA MVP James scored 38 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 127-119 loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday, helping him surpass Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone's mark into second spot on the all-time list.

James is now behind only former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time NBA scoring list with 38,387 points.

The 37-year-old's 38-point haul moved him to 36,947 career points, which is 1,440 points behind Abdul-Jabbar's record.

The Lakers superstar has scored 1,580 points this season, meaning becoming the NBA's all-time top scorer is realistic in the next 12 months yet he insisted it was not a focus.

"I will not allow myself to think about it," James said at the post-game news conference. "I've always just played the game and these things have just happened organically by playing the right way.

"I hope to accomplish that at some point in my career but I won't think about it too much, pretty much until we get there hopefully."

James surpassed Malone's mark with 5:20 left in the second quarter. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are fourth and fifth respectively on the list.

"Just to be a part of this league for as many years as I've been a part of it, to be linked with some of the greatest to ever play this game, guys I've watched or studied, or read about, or inspired to be like, I'm just lost for words for it," James said.

"It's an honour for myself, for my friends and family to live these moments, for anyone who's shared my journey."

LeBron James will not allow himself to think about breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA point scoring record despite moving into second spot on Saturday.

Four-time NBA MVP James scored 38 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 127-119 loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday, helping him surpass Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone's mark into second spot on the all-time list.

James is now behind only former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time NBA scoring list with 38,387 points.

The 37-year-old's 38-point haul moved him to 36,947 career points, which is 1,440 points behind Abdul-Jabbar's record.

The Lakers superstar has scored 1,580 points this season, meaning becoming the NBA's all-time top scorer is realistic in the next 12 months yet he insisted it was not a focus.

"I will not allow myself to think about it," James said at the post-game news conference. "I've always just played the game and these things have just happened organically by playing the right way.

"I hope to accomplish that at some point in my career but I won't think about it too much, pretty much until we get there hopefully."

James surpassed Malone's mark with 5:20 left in the second quarter. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are fourth and fifth respectively on the list.

"Just to be a part of this league for as many years as I've been a part of it, to be linked with some of the greatest to ever play this game, guys I've watched or studied, or read about, or inspired to be like, I'm just lost for words for it," James said.

"It's an honour for myself, for my friends and family to live these moments, for anyone who's shared my journey."

Once again, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to get the job done on a night where LeBron James made history.

With James expected to pass Karl Malone for second place on the all-time regular season scoring list, the Lakers suffered a fourth-quarter collapse to lose 127-119 against the Washington Wizards.

James trailed the Utah Jazz Hall of Famer by 20 points coming into the night, passing him with 5:20 left in the second quarter on his way to 38 points (16-of-29 from the field, four-of-10 from three) with 10 rebounds and six assists.

The 37-year-old now is behind only former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time NBA scoring list with 38,387 points. James now has 36,947 career points.

The Lakers led 97-83 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, before getting out-scored 44-22 the rest of the way.

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James has surpassed Karl Malone as the league's all-time second leading scorer in Saturday's Los Angeles Lakers game against the Washington Wizards.

James trailed the former Utah Jazz Hall of Famer by 20 points coming into Saturday's game but passed him with 5:20 left in the second quarter.

The 37-year-old now is behind only former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time NBA scoring list with 38,387 points.

Two-time MVP Malone scored 36,928 points across his decorated 19-year NBA career. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are fourth and fifth respectively on the list.

James, who was under some doubt for Saturday's game due to knee soreness following Friday's over-time win over the Toronto Raptors, entered the game averaging 29.7 points per game this season.

The four-time NBA champion has not had such a productive offensive season since 2009-10 when he averaged 29.7 points for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Russell Westbrook was hailed a "big-time player" by LeBron James after sinking a clutch three-pointer to force overtime in the Los Angeles' Lakers win over the Toronto Raptors.

The much-maligned Westbrook forced a turnover off a Raptors inbound with 0.4 seconds remaining at Scotiabank Arena and drained a triple to tie the game at 116-116.

Inspired by 36-point James, who scored 19 of those points in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Lakers claimed a 128-123 victory to snap a three-game losing streak.

Westbrook has endured a frustrating first season in Los Angeles, who lost 12 of their previous 15 games, with Friday proving to be a rare highlight for the one-time MVP.

"I was actually looking at his feet when he was getting close to the three-point line," James said of Westbrook's key intervention.

"I saw him step on the three-point line and then slide his foot back before he released it. It was big-time IQ there on his part and a big-time shot by a big-time player."

 

Westbrook registered his 10th triple-double of the season with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers picked up a first road win in 12 attempts.

The 33-year-old now has 1,241 points for the season, which is second only to James (1,542) among Lakers players.

He has 23,098 across his career, meanwhile, and the former Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards point guard has never lost faith in his own ability.

Asked how he has managed to cope with criticism aimed his way this season, Westbrook told reporters: "I got 23,000 points... How about that?
 
"Throughout this whole process, throughout the year, ups and downs, the good and the bad, I lean so much on my faith.

"It's very important that I stay faithful and truthful to that because eventually it will all work out, and nights like tonight was the reason why I stay just true to my faith."

With his 36 points on Friday, James is 20 away from passing Karl Malone as the second-highest points scorer in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the way with 38,387.

Frank Vogel says LeBron James' game time is "always a concern" after the four-time MVP played a team-high 40 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

James starred for the Lakers in the previous day's defeat to the Phoenix Suns but was listed as questionable for Monday's clash with the Raptors due to soreness in his right knee.

The Lakers were 6-12 without James heading into the contest at Crypto.com Arena and Vogel took a gamble of sorts by not only using James but keeping him on the court for longer than any other player.

He delivered another impressive display with 30 points and nine rebounds, yet it was not enough to halt the Lakers' poor run as they fell to an eighth defeat in 10 games to go 29-39 for the season.

Despite James' fitness concerns, Lakers head coach Vogel is comfortable with his decision to keep the 37-year-old on the court against the Raptors, who won for a fourth straight game.

"It's always a concern," Vogel, who was in constant dialogue with James, said when asked about the forward's minutes. "But you feel the game out. There was enough stoppages. It's not always the total minutes on here. 

"It's what kind of flow the game has and there was enough stoppages that we never left like he was being too taxed."

 

James has played 1,845 minutes this season, which is second behind only Russell Westbrook (2,299) among Lakers players.

He has 1,487 points for the campaign and has averaged 29.7 across his 50 games, a tally that is bettered only by Joel Embiid (29.9).

Despite James' efforts, the Lakers left themselves with too much to do against the Raptors after finding themselves 24 points down in the first.

The hosts hit back to make it 109-97 with just over two minutes to go, but the comeback fell short.

Reflecting on another disappointing night for his side, a frustrated Carmelo Anthony said: "If you take away the first quarter, we won the game. We can't be digging ourselves holes or whatever. 

"We've been digging ourselves holes to start games off with. We did it against Phoenix, we did it again today. We find ourselves in those positions often this season."

On a day that saw MVP favourites Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic go head-to-head, it was fellow center Karl-Anthony Towns who stole the headlines.

Towns scored a career-high 60 points in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 149-139 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

It is the most points scored by any player in a single game this season, ahead of Trae Young and LeBron James, who both scored 56.

After reaching half-time with 24 points, Towns exploded into life after the break, scoring 32 of his side's 46 third-quarter points on his way to final shooting figures of 19-31 from the field, 7-11 from three and 15-16 from the line.

Towns, who is the first center to hit 60 points in a single NBA game since Shaquille O'Neal in March 2000, also grabbed a personal season-high of 17 rebounds, while on the other side Dejounte Murray was no slouch with 30 points and 12 assists, though it was not enough for the Spurs.

LeBron James was lost for words after becoming the first player in NBA history to surpass 10,000 points, rebounds and assists.

Four-time MVP James achieved the feat with his six assists in the Los Angeles Lakers' 140-111 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

The second of those assists against the NBA-leading Suns, alongside his 31 points and seven rebounds, saw James reach five figures in that category.

After managing something nobody else has come close to, the 37-year-old was left to revel in another historic achievement.

"I get lost for words anytime things like this are happening to me because of where I come from," he said. 

"I start thinking to my hometown of Akron [Ohio] and my upbringing and where I come from and the dreams that I had of being in this league and playing at the highest level.

"To now sit alone at a statistical category in this league that I've really modelled my game after: being able to score, rebound and assist...

"To sit alone at a stat is pretty, I'd say, 'cool,' but it doesn't quite make sense to me."

 

James' 10,000th assist arrived in another defeat for the Lakers, who are now 29-38 for the season and down in ninth in the Western Conference.

"It's an honour to be a part of this league. No matter what's going on, you try to take the victories that happen throughout the course of a long marathon," James added.

"Tonight is one that happened not only for myself but for my family and friends."

James now has 1,457 points this season, tied with Luka Doncic for the 11th most, while his average of 29.7 across his 49 games is bettered only by Joel Embiid (29.8).

Only in two previous seasons – 30 in 2007-08 and 31.4 in 2005-06 – has James averaged more points than he is this season for the Lakers.

LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to reach 10,000 points, rebounds and assists respectively, in the Los Angeles Lakers' 140-111 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

James notched up his 10,000th assist during the second quarter, with a cross-court pass to Carmelo Anthony for an open three.

The Suns were dominant at home to the Lakers, though, putting up 48 points in the first quarter alone on their way to a commanding win.

Having already secured a playoff berth, despite losing at home to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, Phoenix faced conveniently light work heading into a road back-to-back this week.

Devin Booker continued to shoulder the burden without Chris Paul, putting up 30 points and 10 assists.

With the loss, meanwhile, the Lakers move to 29-38 and teeter dangerously close to touching distance for the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trailblazers, in the race for the final two Western Conference play-in spots.

Durant leads Nets with Irving in the building

Kevin Durant put up an individual season-high 53 points, including a game-breaking three to give the Brooklyn Nets a 110-107 win over the New York Knicks.

The shorthanded Nets were at least able to have Kyrie Irving in the building for the win, with New York mandates now enabling those unvaccinated for Covid-19 to spectate. However, the mandate still requires the vaccination for people who work there, meaning Irving is still unable to suit up.

At the end of the game, Irving walked off the Barclays Center floor arm-in-arm with Durant, who finished with nine assists and six rebounds to go with the 53 points - one point off his career-high.

Joel Embiid had his 30th 30-point game of the season as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Orlando Magic 116-114 in over-time. Embiid finished with 35 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, while Tobias Harris came up with a crucial late three-pointer to finish with 26 points.

Ja Morant had a quiet game by his standards with 17 points, five rebounds and 10 assists as the Memphis Grizzlies improved to 47-22 with a 125-118 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Doncic dagger propels Mavs to road win

The Dallas Mavericks claimed an impressive win on the road, edging the Boston Celtics 95-92 at the TD Garden. Despite leaving the floor with a hamstring scare in the first half, Luka Doncic’s fingerprints were all over the game’s dying moments - he hit the game-tying three-pointer with 1:21, before being called for fouling Marcus Smart on the potential tying three.

It was overturned on review however, and along with the win, Doncic put up 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. On a night where Kevin Garnett's No. 5 jersey was to be retired by the Celtics post-match, the Mavs moved to 42-26 for the year, half a game behind the Western Conference’s fourth-placed Utah Jazz.

LeBron James has labelled the mandate that continues to prevent Kyrie Irving from playing home games for the Brooklyn Nets as making "absolutely zero sense" after Irving was spotted in the crowd at Barclays Center on Sunday.

New York City mayor Eric Adams recently removed restrictions requiring proof of vaccination to enter establishments including bars, restaurants and sports arenas, but the mandate for private sector employees remains in place.

As a result, Irving – who is unvaccinated – is only able to attend home games as a spectator, which he did on Sunday as the Nets beat the New York Knicks 110-107, with reports suggesting he was expected to be a presence in the locker room as well.

The 29-year-old was also in attendance at Barclays on Saturday to take in Duke against Virginia Tech.

Los Angeles Lakers star James took to Twitter on Sunday to question the decision to allow someone who can be in the arena anyway to be on the court.

Quote tweeting a post asking that very question, James wrote: "FACTS FACTS FACTS!! It literally makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE!!! They say if common sense was common then we'd all have it. Ain't that the truth. #FreeKyrie".

Irving has played 18 games for the Nets this season, all on the road, averaging 25.9 points per game, and recently hit 50 in his team's win at the Charlotte Hornets.

The former Cleveland and Boston point guard said last week he believed Adams was on his side.

Adams said last week that allowing Irving to play home games "would send the wrong message" to the people of New York, despite wanting to see Irving win an NBA championship, thus ruling out an exemption.

"Shoutout Eric Adams, man," Irving told reporters after the Nets' loss to the Celtics last Sunday.

"It's not an easy job to be the mayor of New York City. And with COVID looming, the vaccination mandates, everything going on in our world, with this war in the Ukraine, and everybody feeling it across America, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now trying to delegate whether or not one basketball player can come and play at home.

"I appreciate his comments and his stance. He knows where I stand, and I know one day we'll be able to break bread together and he'll be able to come to the games and hopefully we'll move past this time like it never happened in one sense.

"But, it's just the reality that it's been difficult on a lot of us in New York City and across the world. So, I know he's feeling it and I'm just grateful that he's on my side, as well as the [NBA] commissioner."

Frank Vogel led the praise for LeBron James after the four-time MVP scored 50 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 122-109 win over the Washington Wizards.

James reached the half-century mark for the 15th time in his illustrious career, and a second time in the space of three games, to inspire the Lakers' comeback victory.

The 37-year-old was 18 of 25 from the field and made six 3-points in the space of 36 minutes as Vogel's side rallied to snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 29-37.

He is the first Lakers player with 50-or-more points in back-to-back home games since Kobe Bryant in 2007 after hitting 56 against the Golden State Warriors last week.

Adding to his growing list of records, James is also the first player in NBA history to have a 50-point game followed by a triple-double followed by another 50-point game.

Nineteen years on from starting his career at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Vogel is amazed by James' longevity at the top of the sport.

"He's really good at basketball, that LeBron James," Vogel told reporters after the game. 

"I think what stands out to me is the league has never seen a player at his stage of his career do what he's doing. Just an incredible, unbelievable, epic performance."

 

With six rebounds against the Wizards, James moved past Dikembe Mutombo into 12th place on the NBA's career defensive rebounds list with 8,553.

He is just two assists away from becoming the first player ever to reach 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists in NBA history.

Reflecting on another standout display, James said: "We just needed to pick our energy up and get more detailed about how we wanted to attack the Wizards. 

"We did that, especially in the third quarter. I was able to hit a hot streak at one point. I just tried to stay in that zone as long as possible and hit a couple.

"For us to be able to come in in the third quarter, that's been one of our down quarters this year, held them to 23 points in that third and run off 37. It was big for us."

Malik Monk scored 21 points and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15 for the Lakers, helping to inflict a third defeat in four games on the 29-36 Wizards.

Kristap Porzingis's season-high 14 rebounds and 14 points looked as though it would be enough for the visitors until James took over.

"Bron was exceptional tonight, it's hard to stop him," Porzingis said. "Even at his age, he's still capable of doing incredible things like that.

"Once he got going, it was really hard to stop anything he was doing."

The Lakers return to action on Sunday when they face the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns, who have already booked a playoff spot, while the Wizards face the Portland Trail Blazers.

LeBron James was adamant his approach to the NBA season will not be dictated by the Los Angeles Lakers' results after they collapsed to a 139-130 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Despite James returning from a knee injury to register his fifth triple-double of the season, recording 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, the Rockets stunned Los Angeles in overtime to continue the Lakers' poor campaign.

The Lakers have now fallen to six losses in their past seven outings and sit ninth in the Western Conference, despite James averaging 29.4 points per game, the joint-second best record amongst NBA players.

Despite the team's dire form, James said his approach to the final 17 games of the season will be influenced only by his fitness and not the strength of their postseason chances.

"I probably would be in uniform no matter what," James said. 

"No matter if we were nine games under .500 or nine games above .500. It's just all dependent on how [the knee] feels. 

"My love for the game and the way I play the game, and me suiting up, has nothing to do with records and things of that nature. 

"That's just not me."

 

James had an opportunity to prevent overtime with the scores tied at 120-120, opting to pass to Carmelo Anthony rather than attempt a layup to win the game, but the 37-year-old did not regret his decision-making and felt he was unlucky on the night.

"I ended up behind the backboard," said the four-time NBA MVP. "I was a little bit off-balance, and I could have forced a reverse layup, but I wasn't in the position to feel like I could have got a great look. I feel like Melo's look was a lot better than mine.

"I didn't feel like I took any bad ones or any bad shots tonight. It just wasn't falling for me."

Meanwhile, team-mate Russell Westbrook, whose 30-point haul was not enough to halt the Lakers' slump, said opposition teams are routinely raising their games. 

"We kind of messed around with the game and they [the Rockets] had confidence throughout the night," said the 33-year-old.

"They're going to compete, they're playing the Lakers.

"As you guys can see, when they play the Lakers, people get up for those games... It's a thing for them."

The Lakers will now travel to the Washington Wizards on Friday as they look to prevent their season from unravelling further.

LeBron James has been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' game with the San Antonio Spurs on Monday due to "significant" knee soreness.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed the news prior to tip-off with James battling soreness in his knee following Saturday's 56-point display in the 124-116 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Vogel said the issue was ongoing and part of the 37-year-old's game-to-game management.

"He had some soreness in the knee the day after the game that [normally] subsides by the next game," Vogel told reporters pre-game.

"When we got here [San Antonio] the soreness today was still significant enough for us to rule him out."

The Lakers are struggling with a 28-35 record seeing them sit ninth in the Western Conference but James has been exceptional this season.

The 2003 number one Draft pick is averaging 29.4 points per game this season, behind only Joel Embiid with 29.5.

James, who is also averaging 8.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season, has the fourth highest league-wide minutes per game this season with 36.8.

"With the heavy load that he's carrying for us this year, we know that's [games out] always a possibility," Vogel said.

"That's why we continue to list him as questionable to see how it responds in the 48 hours between games. This is just one of those days where it was significant enough to hold him out."

Vogel said he was "hopeful" the four-time NBA MVP would be fit to play the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Stephen Curry acknowledges things are "rough right now" for the Golden State Warriors, with time running out to fix their form before the playoffs as rival superstars continue to capitalise.

LeBron James put up 56 points as the Los Angeles Lakers handed the Warriors their fourth straight loss and eighth in 10 games.

The Warriors had won nine in a row prior to that run but have now slipped to 43-21 and third place in the West.

Saturday's 124-116 defeat followed a familiar, frustrating theme, according to Curry, whose 30 points paled next to James' efforts.

His 56 were the most by any opposition player against the Warriors this season, meaning three of the top four such performances have come in their past three games.

Luka Doncic had 41 for the Dallas Mavericks against the Warriors, while Karl-Anthony Towns scored 39 for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Obviously LeBron played amazing, he hit some tough shots and we've got to acknowledge that, for sure, but we still had some self-inflicted wounds," Curry said.

"That's tough when you're trying to get out of a hole. We're bringing the right energy, it's just IQ, effort plays, simple breakdowns and obviously boxing out.

"It's rough right now. Keeping it plain and simple: it's rough.

"We've got to figure out how to claw our way out, because as you've seen the last four games, it's self-inflicted wounds but also guys are playing with confidence on the other end and coming at us, having not career nights but performances that are unlike the previous five games or whatever.

"You're coming in and you're giving teams confidence as well. We've got to figure that out."

Two-time MVP Curry accepted: "Right now, if the playoffs started tomorrow, we'd be in some trouble."

He added: "We know we've shown who we are, in terms of how we started the season. I feel like we can get back to that – that's the confidence that has to remain – but we cannot give in to this losing spirit of just finding different ways to lose basketball games.

"The clock will tick out on you and you'll go into the summer thinking what could have been, should have been, have regrets. I don't want to let us get into that vibe.

"What are there, 18 games left? We have to figure out how to turn things around pretty quick."

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