LeBron James fell within 177 points of the NBA’s all-time record as the Los Angeles Lakers were beaten 133-115 by the Los Angeles Clippers.
James scored 46 points in the losing cause, but in the process made history as the first player to score 40 points against any franchise in the league.
The 38-year-old also finished the night with a career-high nine threes – the first player aged 35 or older to make nine or more threes in a game.
“I put a lot of effort into it and managed to make a few shots tonight to try and help us stay in the game,” James told reporters. “The Clippers, they’re really good – exceptionally good – when they shoot all three balls.”
The Clippers made 19 three-pointers in Tuesday’s game, including three from Paul George, who scored a game-high 27 points, and four each from Terance Mann, Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson.
Kawhi Leonard, meanwhile, had 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
James took his all-time points total to 38,210 as he continues his pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387. Averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James is set to break the record in six games against the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 2.
“I never thought I could catch Kareem by scoring, it was never something that crossed my mind,” he said.
“As it gets closer and closer, I think I’m going to start to feel it more and more… I got to this place not even thinking about it or not even being in that moment , just trying to play the game the right way.”
Behind James, Russell Westbrook scored 17 points as the Lakers fell to their 10th straight loss to the Clippers – a run dating back to July 2020.
After trailing 23 points at halftime, the Lakers never looked likely to come back into the game and have now dropped five of the last eight to drop to 13th in the Western Conference standings.
They next face the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, while the Clippers – on a three-game winning streak – face the Spurs on Friday.
With his season average of 30.2 points per game, James could surpass Abdul Jabbar’s 34-year NBA record against the Pacers on Feb. 2. Here are the Lakers’ upcoming games:
- January 25 vs. San Antonio Spurs
- January 28 at the Boston Celtics
- January 30 at the Brooklyn Nets
- January 31 at the New York Knicks
- February 2 at the Indiana Pacers*
- February 4 at New Orleans Pelicans
- February 7 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- Feb. 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks