All eyes were on LeBron James at Crypto.com Arena on Tuesday night as he needed just 36 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer when Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In classic James fashion, he wasted no time as the record was broken by the end of the third quarter. That didn’t help the Lakers get a win though unfortunately as they still lost a crucial game to the Thunder, 133-130.
It took LeBron a little to get going as he missed his first pair of shots. His first points came on a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter, giving L.A. an early 14-11 lead. That 3 got James going a bit as he had the next four points for the Lakers.
Once the benches came in, both teams got hot from deep as former Laker Mike Muscala hit three for Oklahoma City while Russell Westbrook and Lonnie Walker IV hit a pair each for L.A.
The Lakers eventually went into the second quarter trailing 36-34, but that deficit didn’t last long as James went to work again with back-to-back buckets inside, including a three-point play.
Despite James carrying the Lakers offensively though, the Thunder remained red-hot from deep to keep the game close. They eventually regained the lead and worked it all the way up to nine, forcing Darvin Ham to use a timeout.
The Thunder built their lead up to 15 and although the Lakers closed the half strong, they still went into the locker room trailing 76-66 with defense being non-existent.
After scoring 20 points in the first half, James went into the second half needing just 16 to break the record. His first points of the half came at the free throw line, and then he drilled back-to-back 3s to cut the Lakers’ deficit to six.
Troy Brown Jr. had five straight points for the Lakers at one point, but L.A. still couldn’t lock in defensively and stop the Thunder from draining 3s.
After back-to-back layups by LeBron though, he was just two points away from the record with the game still in the third quarter. James then sealed the deal with his patented fadeaway jumper, breaking the record and cutting the Lakers’ deficit to just five at the end of three quarters.
The Lakers came all the way back and tied it at 106 early in the fourth, although the Thunder immediately responded with a 7-0, forcing another L.A. timeout. Oklahoma City then had five straight points out of the timeout and L.A.’s deficit was double-digits once again.
Rui Hachimura tried to get the Lakers back on track with four straight points, but they simply could not get enough stops to mount a comeback, unfortunately ending James’ history-making game with a loss.
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