LeBron closes in on Kareem’s record

Agence France-Presse
LeBron closes in on Kareem�s record
LeBron James.
STAR / File

MIAMI  – LeBron James took another stride towards the NBA’s all-time scoring record with a dazzling 46-point performance but could not stop the Los Angeles Lakers falling to a 133-115 blowout against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old basketball icon rolled back the years with the latest in a string of virtuoso performances, draining a career-best nine three-pointers in what was ultimately a futile effort against a Clippers side led by Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

James left the court immediately after the Clippers completed a wire-to-wire victory that saw them lead by as much as 23 points at halftime.

James threatened to inspire a fourth-quarter comeback to get the Lakers within 10 points but the Clippers regrouped around George and Leonard and pulled away.

The only consolation for James was that he is now within touching distance of surpassing Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time points scorer.

James needs another 178 points to eclipse Abdul-Jabbar’s tally of 38,387 points, one of the most coveted and longstanding records in basketball.

On current form, James is on track to break the record sometime in the next fortnight.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham admitted his team was not giving James the support his blistering form deserved.

“I’m happy for him, but we’ve got to get better,” Ham said. “We’ve got to give some help in other areas.

“He’s playing at an unbelievable level right now – it’s amazing to be able to watch. But having said that, we want to win games.”

The Lakers fell to 22-26 and are 13th in the Western Conference standings while the Clippers improved to 26-24 to move to fifth.

Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo led a fourth-quarter fightback as the Miami Heat shrugged off an injury to Jimmy Butler to edge the pace-setting Boston Celtics 98-95.

Miami was rocked by the withdrawal of Butler shortly before tip-off in Florida as it prepared to face the Eastern Conference leaders and most bookmakers’ favorites for this year’s NBA crown.

But Adebayo stepped up with a 30-point performance as Miami sent Boston spinning to a second straight loss following Monday’s reverse to Orlando.

Adebayo’s haul included a crucial contribution down the stretch as Miami overturned a 10-point deficit with just over eight minutes remaining to close out a hard-fought victory.

The Celtics looked set for a morale-boosting road win as they opened up an 87-77 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

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