LeBron James is right there.
The Los Angeles Lakers star is poised to take the league’s all-time scoring title in the coming days after yet another strong performance on Thursday night in Indianapolis.
James entered Thursday’s game just 89 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. He put up 26 points against the Pacers, and had seven rebounds and seven assists, which moved him to just 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s mark.
The Pacers led almost the entire way on Tuesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Yet it was a huge 21-10 run to start the fourth quarter that got the Lakers back within just a single point. Finally, after a pair of James free throws, Anthony Davis hit a bucket and then blocked a late shot attempt from Tyrese Haliburton to put the Lakers in the lead once again and seal the 112-111 win.
Davis led the Lakers with 31 points and 14 rebounds, and Dennis Schroder added 12 points and six rebounds.
Haliburton led the Pacers with 26 points and 12 assists, and Aaron Nesmith added 24 points. The Pacers have now lost four straight, and have won just once in their last 12 games.
James had his first triple-double of the season on Tuesday night against the New York Knicks, which made him the first player in league history to do so in his 20th season. He also passed both Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to move into fourth place on the NBA’s all-time assists leaderboard. James is the only non-point guard to crack the top 20 of that list, although he is still more than 5,000 away from the leader John Stockton.
With James now just 63 points away, fans are clamoring for tickets to try and see James pass Abdul-Jabbar. Ticket prices for next week’s games have skyrocketed.
LeBron James breaking the 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 Bucks on Feb. 9 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.
Saturday: at New Orleans Pelicans, 8 pm ET
February 7: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 10:30 p.m. ET
February 9: vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 10 p.m. ET (TNT)
February 11: at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
February 13: at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET
February 15: vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)