LeBron James is just 36 points away from becoming an NBA all-time top scorer replacing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the new no. 1.
On Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center, all eyes were on LeBron James. The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 131-126 on national television, snapping a ten-game losing streak. LeBron was attempting to close in on the all-time scoring record. New Orleans, on the other hand, had other ideas.
Defensively, the Pelicans struggled once more in the first quarter. They gave up at least 31 points for the fifth time in a row, as the Lakers took a 32-30 lead. Brandon Ingram saw less than two minutes of action in the quarter after picking up two early fouls just two minutes into the game.
When B.I. came back in the second quarter, it was evident that the energy he had established in the previous game in Denver had transferred over. Ingram scored 16 points in the second quarter to lead the Pelicans to 31 points. New Orleans would struggle defensively once more.
Los Angeles scored 40 points in the first half, paced by Anthony Davis’ 18 points. The Pels were unable to halt the Lakers in transition. Los Angeles scored 17 fastbreak points as a result of New Orleans’ eight turnovers. New Orleans also struggled from three-point range, shooting just 2/13. At halftime, the Lakers led 72-61.
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New Orleans would turn the script in the third quarter. Brandon Ingram’s 11-point performance in the quarter helped the Pelicans score 42 points. New Orleans had reversed their halftime deficit and led by two points heading into the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans would finally tighten up defensively, limiting the Lakers to only 20 points in the fourth quarter. Ingram would finish the session with eight points, giving him a game-high 35 points on 15/28 shooting. CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 23 points. Four of New Orleans’ five starters scored in double figures.
The Lakers were led by Anthony Davis, who scored 34 points, and LeBron James, who scored 27. James is now only 37 points away from overtaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points in NBA history. Los Angeles will play the Oklahoma City Thunder at home on Tuesday night.
The Pelicans’ second-half comeback was aided in part by their inability to turn the ball over. In the last two quarters, New Orleans only committed three turnovers. Coach Green has recently emphasized the importance of taking care of the basketball. The Pels did just that in the final 24 minutes to secure a much-needed victory.
The New Orleans Pelicans will return to play on Sunday night when they visit the Sacramento Kings at the Smoothie King Center. Jonas Valanciunas fell down in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return. At this point, the extent of his injury is unknown, and it is unclear if he will be able to play on Sunday night.
LeBron James is on the brink of surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time top scorer in the NBA. Abdul-Jabbar has held the career points record since April 5, 1984, when he broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record. Now James can break that record.
This season, James is averaging 30.0 points per game, putting him on track to set the mark Thursday at home against Abdul-former Jabbar’s team, the Milwaukee Bucks.
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Imagine if LeBron James, who is currently playing for the same team that Kareem spent his last 14 seasons with, smashes the all-time scoring mark against the team that Kareem spent his first six seasons with, all while playing on the same court as Giannis Antetokounmpo, who many believe has surpassed LeBron as the finest player in the world. This may become one of the best moments.
Watch the match highlights below.
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