LeBron James continues march toward history as Lakers host Rockets
After reaching a major milestone Sunday, Lakers star LeBron James will set his sights on one of the NBA’s most storied records as soon as Monday when Los Angeles hosts the Houston Rockets.
James reached the 38,000-point plateau in Sunday’s 113-112 loss to the visiting Philadelphia 76ers and will begin to take aim at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points as he tracks down a historic moment that figures to come next month.
While Abdul-Jabbar saw a major scoring decline in his later seasons, including a 10.1 points-per-game mark in his final season of 1988-89, James is as productive as ever in his advancing age. James has averaged 29.2 points in 33 games this season after turning 38 late last month.
More productivity came against the Sixers, as James scored his 12th point of the game on a jump shot from the top of the key with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter to reach 38,001 for his career. He had 16 of his 35 points in the first quarter.
James has been bothered by a sore ankle as of late and was listed as probable going into Sunday’s game, leaving a chance he could rest on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Lakers lost their third consecutive game but have been far more competitive recently with a five-game winning streak through the first week of the month.
“I think we’ve been playing good basketball, even with some of the Ls that we’ve had,” James said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “… I feel like if we can continue to play the game like we’ve been playing it and then we get healthy, it will put us in a good position to see what the standings hold.”
Adding to the team’s positive outlook is that star forward Anthony Davis is progressing from a stress injury in his right foot that has kept him out the last 15 games. Others close to a return are Lonnie Walker IV (knee) and Austin Reaves (hamstring).
“I think we can string some wins together and be competitive against anybody,” James said.
The Rockets also are on a back-to-back scenario following a game at Los Angeles. Houston fell 121-100 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon before the teams cleared the arena to make way for the Lakers-76ers game.
It was the Rockets’ season-worst 10th consecutive loss and their 15th defeat in the past 16 games.
The Rockets were playing two days after a testy 139-114 defeat to the Sacramento Kings, a game that included an on-court scuffle. Because of the incident, Rockets starters Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate did not play Sunday while serving a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area during the incident.
The Rockets trailed just 91-90 heading into the fourth quarter but scored just 10 points in the final period.
“You know guys have to start lighting a fire within themselves and understand the situation going into every game you have to compete to win and do it together with togetherness,” said Houston’s Eric Gordon, who had a team-high 24 points. “That’s what it is going to take to win.”
–Field Level Media