In his best performance since signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James scored 44 points to surpass Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA all-time scoring list to lead the comeback effort in a 126-117 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers overcame overcame a sluggish start and hot shooting by the Trail Blazers to extend their season-best winning streak to four games. They snapped the Trail Blazers’ four-game winning streak in the process, and a nine-game losing skid to them at Staples Center.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton emphasized three-point shooting in the third matchup with the Trail Blazers this season, and it initially proved to be no avail. Portland made four of five attempts from deep in the first quarter and used a 20-4 run to lead 33-26.
The Lakers then fell behind by as many as 13 points in the second quarter before steadily chipping away. Their comeback effort was led by LeBron James, who scored 11 points in the quarter and electrified the crowd with back-to-back 3-pointers from well behind the arc.
James carried that into the third quarter as he improved to 5-for-5 on 3-pointers before his first miss of the night. James’ brilliance and dominance was also seen on the defensive end as he blocked Nik Stauskas’ dunk attempt and finished on the other end of the court with a layup.
James closed the third quarter at 32 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Having played the entire period, he began the fourth on the bench with the Lakers leading 97-89. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart combined for back-to-back 3-pointers to create separation early in the quarter.
Upon coming back into the game, James surpassed Chamberlain by knocking down a free throw to complete a three-point play. James went into the game needing 39 points to pass Chamberlain.
Lonzo Ball scored in double-figures but activity on defense and hounding of Damian Lillard was perhaps his greatest contribution. Lillard scored 31 points but shot just 8-for-23.