Early in this season the Boston Celtics could not find their flow — their once proud defense was pedestrian and their offense wasn’t getting it done. There have been plenty of people ready to bury them, to blow up the team.
The fourth slot in that event will go to the Pelicans’ Trey Murphy, reports Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III has been invited to the NBA dunk contest, multiple sources tell ESPN.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 29, 2023
No doubt Murphy can throw it down with the best of them.
hey @nba, put Trey Murphy III in the Slam Dunk Contest
– the New Orleans Pelicans pic.twitter.com/ObO0IAywTQ
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 21, 2023
Since he is going into the dunk contest, here are some @treymurphy dunks as a Hoo!
— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) January 29, 2023
The Dunk Contest will headline All-Star Saturday night, Feb. 18, from the Vivint Arena (soon to be the Delta Center again). The event will be broadcast on TNT.
The Dunk Contest is the Saturday night headline event, but it has fallen flat in recent years. Adding a G-League dunker and young, bouncy athletes such as Murphy, Martin and Sharpe could make this one entertaining. However, what fans really want to see — what made the Dunk Contest must-watch back in the day when Jordan, Kobe, and Vince Carter were doing it — is the stars. There will be no Ja Morant, no Zion Williamson, and no Anthony Edwards in this contest.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has held the NBA all-time scoring record at 38,387 points since he retired in 1989. It is one of the most iconic records in sports and one thought by many that would never be broken, but LeBron James is on the verge of breaking that scoring record and doing it at age 38. How many more points does LeBron need to take over the scoring record? When is it projected to happen? Let’s break down the latest numbers (this will be updated after every Lakers game until the record is set).
How many points does LeBron James need to set the scoring record?
Abdul-Jabbar career points: 38,387
LeBron career points: 38,271
Lakers’ upcoming schedule:
Jan. 30 at Nets
Jan. 31 at Knicks
Feb. 2 at Pacers
Feb. 4 at Pelicans
Feb. 7 vs. Thunder
Feb. 9 vs. Bucks
When is LeBron projected to set the all-time scoring record:
LeBron is averaging 30.2 points per game this season, at that pace he would set the record on Feb. 4 at the New Orleans Pelicans.
Since he turned 38 (on Dec. 30), LeBron has averaged 35.2 points per game, which would see the mark broken in New Orleans. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the record fall when LeBron returns to Los Angeles on Feb. 7 or Feb. 9.
News and notes on LeBron’s quest for the record:
• LeBron scored 41 points — and felt he should have had a couple more — in the Lakers’ overtime loss to the Celtics Saturday on national television.
LeBron in Boston…
117 points to the all-time scoring record. pic.twitter.com/TQCBGgFJAV
— NBA (@NBA) January 29, 2023
• Sixers Doc Rivers on what impresses him in LeBron’s run to this record: “LeBron has done it so differently to me [thank Kareem]. Because LeBron is not a natural scorer. LeBron is a playmaker. He got criticized early in his career for making the right decisions. And the fact that he’s now about to break the scoring record, it really points out his greatness.”
• What has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said about LeBron passing his record? There has been a bit of frostiness between the two men, but Abdul-Jabbar was gracious in comments to Marc Stein back in 2021 about the possibility of his record falling: “I’m excited to see it happen. I don’t see records as personal accomplishments, but more as human achievements. If one person can do something that’s never been done, that means we all have a shot at doing it. It’s a source of hope and inspiration. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile back in 1954. Since then, not only have 1,400 runners beaten that time, but the new record is 17 seconds less. We all win when a record is broken and if LeBron breaks mine, I will be right there to cheer him on.”
It takes a second to notice, but the 76ers had just four players on the court trying to defend the Nuggets on a late third-quarter possession.
But when James Harden — sitting on the bench — notices it, he stands up and runs into play, drawing a technical.
Harden really ran onto the court from the bench mid-play 😅 pic.twitter.com/d1OrObZ58r
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 28, 2023
The technical foul was for having four men on the court, not on Harden specifically.
While that may have been a rare instance of Harden rushing to play defense, the 76ers as a team cranked up their defense in the second half against the Nuggets and went on to get the home win behind 47 points from Joel Embiid.
“The best player on earth can’t get a call. It’s amazing.”
LeBron James was once again brilliant — 41 points, nine rebounds and eight assists — but with the game tied against the Celtics and 4.1 seconds on the clock, he drove the lane and didn’t get the foul call when it clearly looked like Jayson Tatum hit him on the arm as he shot.
Wow. Just wow…
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 29, 2023
After the game, referee crew chief Eric Lewis admitted the officials missed the call:
“There was contact. At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”
LeBron couldn't believe it… pic.twitter.com/Qa6zd886Hc
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 29, 2023
Patrick Beverley picked up a technical foul for bringing a photographer’s camera over to the referee to show evidence of the foul.
Pat Bev really picked up a camera to troll the ref over his missed call 💀 pic.twitter.com/2pxXCneQkn
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 29, 2023
These losses are a punch to the gut for a Laker team with little margin for error and trying to make up ground in the West (at 23-27 they sit 13th in the conference). But LeBron sees a pattern — he is scoring 30.2 points per game (sixth in the league) but is getting to the line just 4.9 times per game, fewer than anyone else in the top nine in the league in scoring.
“I don’t get it. I’m attacking the paint, just as much as any of the guys in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night, and I don’t get it. I don’t understand it,” James said postgame in Boston.
The other Lakers were a little more direct.
Anthony Davis shared his thoughts on the no-call at the end of regulation vs. Boston.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 29, 2023
Boston pulled away in overtime to get the 125-121 win, snapping their own three-game losing streak.
HIGHLIGHTS: Celtics force OT and get a much-needed win vs LeBron & the Lakers
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 29, 2023
LeBron finished with 41, Anthony Davis 16 (on 6-of-15 shooting off the bench) and Beverley had 15 including a key putback dunk. Jaylen Brown scored 37 for Boston, Tatum 30 and Malcolm Brogdon had 26 off the bench.
There are no moral victories for these Lakers more than halfway into the season, playing the team with the best record in the NBA close and almost winning does not count. Time is running out on LeBron and his team, they need to string together some wins. They felt they should have gotten the chance to win this one.