02/08 01:42 CST LeBron sets NBA career scoring mark in Lakers' loss to OKC
LeBron sets NBA career scoring mark in Lakers' loss to OKC
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) --- LeBron James became the NBA's career scoring leader on a
step-back jumper late in the third quarter, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's
record during his 38-point performance in the Los Angeles Lakers' 133-130 loss
to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
James surpassed the mark held since April 1984 by Abdul-Jabbar, who watched the
game from a baseline seat near the Lakers' bench. Abdul-Jabbar then joined a
clearly emotional James and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on the court after the
James' mother, wife and children also sat courtside amid a celebrity-studded
crowd that rose in waves of anticipation nearly every time he touched the ball.
James didn't let them down: After scoring 20 points in the first half with a
full showcase of the offensive talent that still shines blindingly after two
decades in the NBA, he set the new record with a 16-point third quarter capped
by that pretty jumper.
"I didn't set this as a goal, so that's probably why it's so surreal and so
weird to me," James said. "I never talked about being the all-time scorer in
NBA history ... until my numbers started getting closer and closer, and I was
like, ?Oh wow, this is crazy. This is weird, but I guess I'm doing it.'"
The game was stopped for about 10 minutes while James hugged his family and
participated in a brief ceremony with Silver and Abdul-Jabbar. James said he
almost never cries, but he acknowledged the tears in his eyes.
"I just want to say thank you to the Laker faithful," James said. "You guys are
one of a kind. To be able to be in the presence of such a legend as great as
Kareem, it's very humbling."
James has five 40-point games since turning 38 on Dec. 30, and he has scored 30
points in 10 of his 17 games since his birthday. But he scored only two points
in the fourth quarter, putting him atop the career scoring list with 38,390
points --- three ahead of Abdul-Jabbar.
"That was a great feeling, a great moment," said teammate Anthony Davis, who
managed just 13 points. "Well deserved to a guy who puts in so much work on and
off the floor. It's a real moment. Everybody was very happy for him."
While James hit his mark, the Lakers took another discouraging loss in their
attempt to avoid the humiliation of missing the playoffs for a second straight
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 points and Jalen Williams had 25 for the
Thunder. Oklahoma City never trailed in the second half, holding off the
Lakers' 14-4 rally in the final two minutes.
"It was a blessing and an honor to be a part of it," Lakers coach Darvin Ham
said. "He gave the people what they wanted, in true LeBron fashion. ... It
(stinks) we didn't get the win on a night like this, but there's a lot of
things to pull from it, a lot of things to take away."
The young Thunder appeared to feed off the energy created by James' momentous
night, even if they couldn't guard him much. Oklahoma City jumped to a 15-point
lead in the first half and hit nearly 60% of its shots.
Oklahoma City moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the 13th-place Lakers (25-30) near the
bottom of the Western Conference standings.
Thunder: Josh Giddey had 20 points. ... One-time Lakers forward Mike Muscala
scored 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers.
Lakers: Austin Reaves returned from a 16-game absence with a hamstring injury
and played seven scoreless minutes. ... Russell Westbrook had 27 points, eight
assists and six turnovers.
Thunder: At Portland on Friday.
Lakers: Host Milwaukee on Thursday.
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