NBA Roundup: LeBron reaches new record as Cavs and more shine
With James expected to pass Karl Malone for second place on the all-time regular season scoring list, the Lakers suffered a fourth-quarter collapse to lose 127-119 against the Washington Wizards.
James trailed the Utah Jazz Hall of Famer by 20 points coming into the night, passing him with 5:20 left in the second quarter on his way to 38 points (16-of-29 from the field, four-of-10 from three) with 10 rebounds and six assists.
The 37-year-old now is behind only former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time NBA scoring list with 38,387 points. James now has 36,947 career points.
The Lakers led 97-83 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, before getting out-scored 44-22 the rest of the way.
Much-maligned former MVP Russell Westbrook was not to blame for the result, scoring an efficient 22 points (10-of-15 shooting) to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists, with a total lack of bench production proving the Lakers' downfall.
The Wizards' bench out-scored the Lakers bench 54-21. With Kyle Kuzma out of action, Kristaps Porzingis stepped up for the Wizards, top-scoring with 27 (nine-of-17 shooting) and five assists.
The Cavs, Timberwolves, and Hornets show up with big wins
Darius Garland played the entire second half of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 113-109 home win against the Detroit Pistons. Garland finished with team-highs in both points (24 on eight-of-18 shooting) and assists (12) as the Cavaliers rallied back from a half-time deficit to win the second half 58-49.
It was a well-rounded performance from Rookie of the Year favorite Evan Mobley, chipping in with 12 points (six-of-12 shooting), 11 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal. The first pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, Piston Cade Cunningham, posted a stat-line of 15 points (five-of-13 shooting) with 10 assists and six rebounds.
On a night where Giannis Antetokounmpo was announced as out of action an hour before tip-off, the Milwaukee Bucks went down 138-119 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Bucks were unable to get stops all night, conceding at least 32 points in all four quarters as star duo Karl-Anthony Towns (25 points on six-of-12 shooting, 11 rebounds, five assists) and Anthony Edwards (25 points on nine-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, four assists) led the way.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets moved above .500 with a convincing 129-108 win against the Dallas Mavericks as Luka Doncic had no help. Doncic scored 37 points on 13-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-12 from long range, while none of his teammates scored more than Frank Ntilikina's 12.
For Charlotte, Miles Bridges (23 points and eight rebounds), LaMelo Ball (17 points, seven assists, four steals), and Terry Rozier (20 points, six rebounds, six assists) shared the workload to bring the Hornets to within one game of the eight-seed.
Cover photo: imago/Icon SMI