LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James poured on 44 points to leapfrog Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time scoring rankings as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 126-117, on Wednesday, November 14 (Thursday, November 15, Manila time).
But James later made sure to pay tribute to Chamberlain when asked to reflect on passing the Lakers icon.
“One of the most dominant forces we ever had in our game, along with Shaq (O’Neal), one of the greatest Lakers to play the game,” James said.
“I’m just happy we got another win. But any time my name is mentioned with some of the greats, I always think back to my hometown and how far I’ve come. That’s it for me.”
James’ highest points haul since joining the Lakers saw him vault over Chamberlain into 5th place on the scoring rankings, leaving him with 31,425 points from his career.
Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time points leader with 38,387 points, followed by Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (33,643) with Michael Jordan one place ahead of James at 32,292.
James’s standout night at the Staples Center saw him come within a whisker of a triple-double, with the Lakers star finishing with 10 rebounds and 9 assists in addition to his 44 points.
The 33-year-old made a point of snaffling the game ball after the buzzer sounded on what was a fourth straight victory for the Lakers, who improved to 8-6 to move up to 7th in the Western Conference standings.
James, who had expressed frustration earlier in the season after the Lakers slow start to the campaign, said he believes the team is gradually heading in the right direction.
“It’s still a process for us,” James said. “We want to try and get better every day. And I believe we’ve done that since the start of training camp.
“We’ve got better since September and into October, and now we’ve got better in November. We just want to try and continue it.”
The only downside for the Lakers came with an injury to Rajon Rondo, who faces at least two weeks on the sidelines after suffering a broken hand.
“It’s tough,” said James. “He’s one of our leaders. But it’s next man up.”
James’ dominant performance also extended to defense. He led the Lakers with 3 blocks and a steal in addition to his haul of points and assists. – Rappler.com