Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James made history yet again on Saturday, becoming the second-best scorer in NBA history in the loss against the Washington Wizards.
James passed Karl Malone on the all-time scoring list with a cutting layup in the second quarter. He ended up with 38 points, moving 1,439 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in first.
Although the four-time NBA champion felt “honored” to reach the milestone, he said the night had a bittersweet taste to it, because the Lakers blew up the lead and lost another game.
“No, I can’t separate it,” James said. “I can’t separate the fact that we weren’t able to get this win with me accomplishing that because, at the end of the day, all I care about are wins and losses. Obviously, at some point, I’ll be able to look back at this moment, but right now, the feeling I have, I can’t separate it.
“We had a great opportunity to pick up some more momentum, especially after last night’s win. Played well enough to win this game through 36 minutes. The last quarter we let it go.”
The Lakers could dip to 10th in the Western Conference — the last position guaranteeing a Play-In Tournament spot — if the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. The Pelicans currently hold the tiebreaker over L.A., as they lead 1-0 in the season series.
Frank Vogel says he doesn’t know ‘where Lakers would be without James’
Head coach Frank Vogel also found the night to be bittersweet, celebrating James’ accomplishment while feeling disappointed to suffer another loss.
But in the end, he couldn’t restrain himself from marveling at the 37-year-old All-Star, his greatness, and evolution in the late 30s — emphasizing his value to the Lakers.
“The fact it is later in his career and he’s still doing it at this level is different,” Vogel said.
“Obviously, the way he’s continuing to evolve his game with the deep shooting, the turnaround fadeaway jump shot that Kobe [Bryant] and Michael [Jordan] had later in his career. Now he’s growing as a receiver.
“That part is special, but it’s just an incredible game, season and I don’t know where we’d be without him.”
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