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LeBron James surpasses 38,000 factors in Lakers’ loss to 76ers


LeBron James set a halfhearted display on the left elbow earlier than popping to the highest of the important thing the place Russell Westbrook discovered him with a cross. James caught it and squared up with out hesitation, effortlessly flipping the ball towards the ring through the first quarter Sunday night time towards the Philadelphia 76ers.

As it handed by way of the web, James turned the second participant in NBA historical past to attain 38,000 profession factors. The participant he’s chasing, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is the opposite member of the membership.

After the subsequent timeout, when James’ milestone basket was proven on the Arena scoreboard, public deal with announcer Lawrence Tanter known as it one other nice second in Lakers historical past.

When will LeBron James turn into NBA’s all-time main scorer?

A take a look at LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring report.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar factors: 38,387

LeBron James factors: 38,024

Points from report: 364 factors

Projected video games till report: 14

Projected report date: Feb. 11 vs. Warriors

But these moments in James’ tenure with the Lakers hardly have been nice so far as staff success is anxious. When he handed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring checklist in Los Angeles, the Lakers misplaced. When he moved previous Kobe Bryant, the staff misplaced in Philadelphia, and when he turned the second all-time main scorer in Washington, that additionally got here in a loss.

And by the point the horn sounded and 76ers star Joel Embiid fired the ball into the air, factors 38,000 and 38,001 couldn’t really be celebrated, one other loss marring considered one of James’ milestone achievements.

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Westbrook’s potential profitable drive didn’t join, the Lakers shedding one other heartbreaker to Philadelphia, 113-112.

“It sucks to lose a close game like this,” coach Darvin Ham mentioned.

Afterward, Westbrook mentioned Embiid grabbed his wrist, stopping him from cleanly trying a shot.

“I was trying to attack them and get to the basket,” Westbrook mentioned. “It’s unfortunate, but he was grabbing my wrist. I couldn’t get the ball up. But it’s all good.”

Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook drives around 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle.

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook drives round 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle within the first quarter Sunday.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

James was terrific all sport, a 360-degree spinning layup within the second half one more reminder that he’s ageing in a approach few have in any sport.

“I assumed ‘Bron was phenomenal, really playing downhill, playing the right way,” Ham said. “Running, off the ball, really finding guys as well. I thought he was really, really good.”

But James didn’t contact the ball on the final possession.

“Down one, you’ve got one of our best playmakers to the rim, one of our best finishers at the rim, has the ball with Embiid standing in front of him. I’ll take that scenario every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” Ham mentioned. “We just got to finish the play. That’s it. Make a harder, stronger move to the rim. That’s it. It’s as simple as that. And it just didn’t work out.”

He scored 35 factors to go along with 10 assists and eight rebounds. And Westbrook had 20 factors, 14 rebounds and 11 assists — his fourth triple-double this season since transferring to the bench, essentially the most for an NBA reserve.

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But for all of the combat and excellence from the highest of the Lakers’ roster, they left the court docket losers for the third straight time, Embiid’s silky midrange sport within the fourth quarter the distinction.

Lakers star LeBron James drives to the basket between 76ers guard James Harden and center Joel Embiid.

Lakers star LeBron James drives to the basket between 76ers guard James Harden, left, and middle Joel Embiid through the first quarter Sunday.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A Troy Brown Jr. three-pointer and a Lakers cease gave them an opportunity to win, however Ham didn’t name a timeout as Westbrook moved the ball up the left wing. With Embiid guarding him, Westbrook fumbled the ball earlier than driving to the rim and ending the sport sitting beneath the basket in frustration.

Ham mentioned he didn’t contemplate calling a timeout, saying the ball was within the palms of one of many staff’s finest playmakers.

“We just got to be better, got to be better finishing the game,” Ham mentioned.

Embiid completed with 35 factors and 11 rebounds, and James Harden had 24 factors and 13 assists.

As James will get nearer to breaking Abdul-Jabbar’s report, his honesty concerning the Lakers’ shedding additionally has turn into extra apparent.

The muted solutions, the refined digs — they’ve given approach to flat-out truths like “playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore,” which he mentioned final month in Miami.

The Lakers, although, aren’t precisely enjoying “losing basketball” regardless of their current losses. They fell to Dallas in double additional time after questionable non-calls on the finish of regulation and the primary additional time.

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And Sunday night time towards the 76ers, the staff actually had probabilities, together with one with the sport on the road.

Afterward, Ham reiterated his confidence in Westbrook in that state of affairs, down one with the ball and a middle in entrance of him — the identical approach the coach could be comfy with James in that state of affairs.

After the sport, Westbrook mentioned his expertise within the NBA has taught him that one empty possession — on this case the ultimate one — counts as a lot as one at some other time.

“I know the game didn’t come down to the last shot,” he mentioned.

The different issues — poor three-point taking pictures, a depleted rotation, Embiid’s dominance and Harden’s mastery — mattered too. So did the Lakers’ play, which nonetheless has Westbrook and his teammates satisfied they’re a great staff.

The standings, although, might want to say the identical earlier than later.

“We’re playing good basketball,” James mentioned. “We’re just not winning games.”


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