Kobe Bryant may be No. 1 in the hearts of Lakers fans, but he is now No. 4 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list after LeBron James passed him with a layup with 7:23 left in the third quarter. The basket gave LeBron 33,644 points.
LeBron now has Karl Malone (second) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ahead of him on the scoring list, and LeBron is 4,733 points back of Kareem, a number he could reasonably get to in a couple of seasons. Kareem was on SiriusXM NBA Radio this past week with Frank Isola and Brendan Haywood and said LeBron could pass him if he’s focused.
🔊 @KingJames is about to become the 3rd All-Time leading scorer in NBA history
“I think it is up to LeBron. If he wants to do it, he’ll do it. He has the talent. He has the opportunity. So it’s just up to him as to how he wants to end his career. I certainly cannot be upset about it. The reason that they keep these records is so that we learn how we are improving. And we learn how to teach the game, taking note of the accomplishments of the great players. So, hey, it’s a natural progression. I don’t have any problem with it.”
Three Things to Know: LeBron’s big day, first named All-Star captain, then has triple-double
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) LeBron James’ triple-double gives Lakers win in Brooklyn, a sweep of New York. The Lakers have been kicked out of Staples Center for a week allowing rehearsals for the Grammys can take over the building. Meaning old guys in suits sit around for a week and figure out if they can get Lizzo and Kenny Chesney to perform together. Because strange pairings always make good music and television.
So LeBron James and the Lakers just went to New York and made themselves at home.
LeBron racked up a triple-double of 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists — his 10th triple-double of the season — and the Lakers finally played some defense down the stretch to get a 128-113 win in Brooklyn on Thursday.
That leaves LeBron just 17 points short of Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time NBA scoring list. LeBron likely passes the Laker legend on Saturday night while Los Angeles is in Philadelphia.
The Laker offense was flowing against the Nets “defense” — Los Angeles made a season-high 19 threes. Anthony Davis had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Dwight Howard got his first start of the season and responded with 14 points and 12 boards.
The Lakers are 3-1 on their five-game road trip so far, and they swept New York with wins over the Knicks and Nets.
Brooklyn has lost five in a row through a difficult part of the schedule. Even with Kyrie Irving back, that’s not enough to lift this lineup to wins against the league’s best. The Nets now have two games on the road, against the Pistons and Knicks.
2) LeBron — and Giannis Antetokounmpo — again names captains as All-Star Game starters are announced. The fans (50% of the vote), players (25%), and media (25%) got together and put together a pretty representative group of All-Star Game starters. Here’s the list and the guys who will start in Chicago:
WEST Guard:Luka Doncic (Dallas) Guard:James Harden (Houston) Frontcourt: LeBron James (L.A. Lakers) Frontcourt: Anthony Davis (L.A. Lakers) Frontcourt:Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers)
Of course, they won’t play East vs. West. Instead, the two captains — LeBron and Antetokounmpo, the leading vote getters by the fans — will select their teams playground-style live on a TNT special NBA All-Star Draft Show Feb. 6 (a week before the game). First, they will choose from the pool of starters, then from the pool of 14 reserves (seven reserves from each conference, selected by the coaches and announced next week).
Being named a starter, one of the 10 best players in the game, is a powerful affirmation. Check out Trae Young’s reaction to being named.
Team LeBron is 2-0 in this format, and LeBron will be coached by his Laker coach Frank Vogel (as much as there is “coaching” in the All-Star Game). Also, when LeBron steps on the All-Star Game court in Chicago it will be his 16th time as a starter, passing Kobe for most starts ever in the game.
3) Damian Lillard is putting on a clinic (and it’s still not enough to get the Trail Blazers’ wins). Damian Lillard may not be an All-Star Game starter (he was third on the fan, player, and media votes), but he remains one of the best, most entertaining players in the league.
Coming off a game where he had 61 points, Lillard dropped 47 on Dallas on national television on Thursday night — that’s 108 points in two games, a Trail Blazers record.
Portland was without CJ McCollum (sprained ankle) and, of course, Jusuf Nurkic, who has been out all season with a leg injury. Without elite help, it’s Lillard against the world too often, and that’s not enough against good teams. Portland entered the season dreaming of getting back to the Western Conference Finals or even doing better, but this morning they sit as the 10 seed, 2.5 games out of the playoffs. It’s been a rough season in the Pacific Northwest.
Doncic had 27 points and nine assists in the win.
Once again fans pick LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo to be All-Star captains as starters announced
The All-Star Game format remains the same as it was the last couple of seasons: The two captains — LeBron and Antetokounmpo — will select their teams playground-style live on a TNT special NBA All-Star Draft Show Feb. 6 (a week before the game). First, they will choose from the pool of starters (listed below) then from the pool of 14 reserves (seven reserves from each conference, selected by the coaches and announced next week).
Here are your All-Star starters, chosen by a combination of fan votes (50 percent of the total), media votes (25 percent) and player votes (25 percent).
Philadelphia is building for the playoffs has shown flashes of elite play. There’s still time for everyone to mesh. Richardson’s absence will remove an opportunity for that to happen, though.
The 76ers also lose a valuable contributor as they try to rise from fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The No. 5 seed would play the first-round without home-court advantage then, if advancing, face the mighty Bucks in the second round. Far from an ideal position for a deep run.