Bojan Bogdanovic said he should not have even been on the court to produce his game-winner for the Utah Jazz against the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Bogdanovic had struggled for much of the contest, but hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift the Jazz to a 114-113 win over the Rockets in the NBA.

The forward finished with eight points in 32 minutes on two-of-seven shooting as Utah improved to 34-18.

Bogdanovic praised Utah's coaching staff for giving him the chance despite his below-par performance.

"First of all, I wasn't supposed to be on the court on the last play the way I played the whole game," he told AT&T SportsNet.

"But that's the coaching staff, they believe in me, they gave me the opportunity to shoot the game-winning shot.

"I stayed confident, I know that I'm able to hit all shots and at the end of the game it's a very important W for us."

James Harden finished with a triple-double of 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Rockets, while Russell Westbrook had 39 points.

Bogdanovic talked up the importance of the win for Utah, who edged clear of Houston in fourth in the Western Conference.

"That was our game plan, to take the ball out of James' hands. We did a great job the whole game," he said.

"Rudy [Gobert] was guarding big time Russell Westbrook all game, but like I said big and really important victory for us."

Director Spike Lee wore a suit in honour of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant at the Academy Awards.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash last month, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tributes have continued to pour in for five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant and all the victims of the crash.

Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for best animated short film and famous New York Knicks fan Lee paid tribute by wearing a purple suit – with the number 24 – inspired by the Lakers great on Sunday.

LeBron James referenced the film 'The 6th Man' to explain his unintended tribute to Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash last month.

During Thursday's 121-111 home loss to the Houston Rockets, James slammed a double-clutch reverse finish off a fast break, a play that looked identical to a dunk performed by Bryant against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center in November 2001.

When asked about the similarities, the four-time NBA MVP referred to a movie in which a basketball player's dead family member and team-mate comes back as a ghost to help him achieve success.

"Ever see the movie 'The 6th Man'? Kobe came down, put himself in my body and gave me that dunk on that break," said James after a 125-120 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

"I didn't really predetermine that either until I jumped. I just jumped and kind of figured it out, and then ... it's crazy how it's like the same exact dunk, the same exact hoop that Kobe did [it on] – what, 19 years ago or something like that? That was nice."

The Lakers tweeted a video showing the two dunks playing out simultaneously and it has been viewed over 24 million times.

"Our great social media team put that together, and I was like, 'That's really, really good.' And then my son did the same thing in his warm-up, he didn't do it in a game but he did the same dunk in his warm-up. Kobe is in all of us right now," said James.

"It's crazy, it's crazy. For that to now be a part of my history, that correlation between me and Kobe and that play, I think it's pretty, pretty, pretty awesome. I'm glad I did it in a Laker uniform."

A spectacular image of James' dunk was caught by NBA photographer Andrew D Bernstein and the 16-time All-Star intends to make it a permanent fixture in his house.

"When I saw it for the first time, I was like, 'Holy s***, that is an unbelievable photo,'" James said.

"And then when I found out how it was taken: Andy literally had one snap on his remote to get that, and when I saw the video of it, when I was in the air, you can see the flash in the background.

"I was like, 'Oh … He's the real MVP, for sure.' That was crazy. To catch that moment, like I'm walking on air, it's pretty cool. It'll be hung up in my house."

Stephen Curry is planning on making a return to action at the start of March, even though the Golden State Warriors will not be involved in the NBA playoffs this season.

The two-time MVP continues to go through rehabilitation work after twice undergoing surgery on the broken hand he suffered in October.

Interviewed by ESPN during the Warriors’ game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, Curry revealed he is back working on the court but still needs to build up his strength before he returns to the court.

The 31-year-old played in just four regular-season games before the injury against the Phoenix Suns, averaging 20.3 points and 6.5 assists.

"It's a work in progress, it’s getting better every day," Curry told ESPN. "I know it's a long process from the time it happened and the surgeries.

"I'm excited about hopefully getting back on the floor sooner than later.

"I don't have much strength – I can get shots up and can kind of do my basketball skill work, but I just got to get the strength right so I can deal with contact."

Asked if he was on target to be back in March, the point guard replied: "That's the plan. It's been the plan since surgery knowing the timeline with the injury, as severe as it was.

"I'm not rushing, but I'm setting a goal that hopefully I can meet in the first week of March to get back out on the floor, help my team-mates and hopefully end the season on a strong note."

Having seen Kevin Durant depart during the offseason and with starting guards Curry and Klay Thompson both sidelined with long-term injuries, the Warriors have endured a tough campaign.

After a 125-120 home loss to the Lakers, Golden State – who won the NBA title in 2015, 2017 and 2018 before losing to the Toronto Raptors in last year's finals - have a 12-41 record.

Andrew Wiggins made his debut in the team's latest defeat, scoring 24 points following his arrival from the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a trade that saw D'Angelo Russell move in the opposite direction.

"We understand he's an amazing talent," Curry said of Wiggins, who also recorded five steals against the Lakers. "He fills a need for us at the three spot and we are going to have to build chemistry and understand exactly what the line-up is going to look like, but excited about the opportunity."

The Los Angeles Clippers were crushed by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA, while the Lakers claimed a win on Saturday.

The Timberwolves ended a 13-game losing streak with a 142-115 victory over the Clippers.

Jordan McLaughlin (24 points), Malik Beasley (23) and Karl-Anthony Towns (22) led Minnesota to their win.

Beasley went seven-of-13 from three-point range in what was the Timberwolves' 16th win of the season.

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (29 points) and Paul George (21) combined for 50 points.

The Lakers held off the Golden State Warriors in a 125-120 win.

Anthony Davis (27 points and 10 rebounds) and LeBron James (22 points and 11 assists) both had double-doubles.

 

Raptors roll on, Giannis leads Bucks

The Toronto Raptors posted their 14th straight win by edging the Brooklyn Nets 119-118.

Fred VanVleet (29 points), Pascal Siakam (20) and Terence Davis (20) led the way for the Raptors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 19 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in the Milwaukee Bucks' 111-95 win over the Orlando Magic.

Deandre Ayton had 28 points and 19 rebounds, but the Phoenix Suns fell to the Denver Nuggets 117-108.

 

Magic pair battle

Aaron Gordon (seven points) and Wes Iwundu (two) went a combined three-of-18 from the field in Orlando's loss.

 

Monk magic

Malik Monk produced a huge dunk in the Charlotte Hornets' loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Saturday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 111-95 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 116-100 Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks 95-92 Detroit Pistons
New Orleans Pelicans 124-117 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 119-118 Brooklyn Nets
Minnesota Timberwolves 142-115 Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers 125-120 Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets 117-108 Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings 122-102 San Antonio Spurs

 

Jazz at Rockets

The Utah Jazz (33-18) visit the Houston Rockets (33-19) on Sunday in a clash between teams sitting fourth and fifth respectively in the Western Conference.

An irate Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said a missed goaltending violation "cost us the f****** game" against the Utah Jazz on Friday.

The Trail Blazers were trailing by two points when Lillard's layup was blocked by Rudy Gobert with 13.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz center's touch clearly came after the ball hit the backboard.

The three officials on the floor failed to make to make the call, though, and Utah went on to claim a 117-114 victory at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, officiating crew chief Josh Tiven admitted a mistake had been made: "We've since looked at it via postgame video review, and unfortunately saw that we missed the play, and a goaltending violation should have been called."

Lillard was incensed and had to be held back after the buzzer, with his temper still running hot when reporters entered the locker room.

"We get to the last play until the game and they miss an easy call, then they tell us it's an easy no-call, like that was obviously not a goaltend. It cost us the f****** game, man," said Lillard, who finished with 42 points, six rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

"It's an easy call. Three referees out there and they don't call that. And I don't want to see no report about, 'Oh, we should've called it'. None of that. They cost us a game. We're in a playoff race and they cost us a game on an easy call.

"There's no way to take the sting out of it, we can't have the game back, they cost us a game. It's a loss on our record.

"We're in a playoff race and we need every game that we can get and we had that type of effort and they miss an easy call like that, and then you want us to walk away and say nothing? It cost us the game. Of course we're gonna have something to say about it, man, it's BS."

Shooting guard CJ McCollum suggested the officials need to be punished for the glaring error.

"The call they missed was very costly for us, it cost us the game, we can't get it back," said McCollum. "I just don't like the explanation I got, that really p***** me off.

"There's three of you [referees] out there so if one of you doesn't see it the other two are supposed to be in another position to see it, so for you to say, 'It wasn't even close', and one person to say, 'It might've been obvious to you but it wasn't to us', it makes me just think you're not capable of doing the job in the way you're supposed to do it, which means you should be reprimanded, you should be fined accordingly.

"When we make mistakes we're fined, and they cost us a game that could cost people money. So they should be fined accordingly, because that's terrible. Not just bad, terrible."

Portland coach Terry Stotts said: "It's just a shame it was decided on an inexcusable missed call, there's no other way to describe it. They could've called goaltending and reviewed it, but they swallowed their whistles on a play that was pretty obvious.

"It's disappointing that such a great effort was decided by that. Everybody's pretty p***** off. You would think they would get that one right. I don't complain about officiating - they've got a tough job - but a play like that is inexcusable."

Despite appearing to suggest it was not a goaltending violation by shaking his head as Lillard appealed to the referees in the immediate aftermath, Gobert acknowledged the on-court decision was incorrect.

"I was just trying to make a play on the ball, and obviously after watching the replay you can see that's a goaltend," he said. "I was just trying to make a play. Goaltending happens all the time, it's part of the game.

"It's what people are going to talk about, they're not going to talk about us coming back from 14 [points behind] at half-time and us playing well as a team and fighting to come back in the game.

"Obviously it's a big play because it's the last play and it's what everyone is going to remember, but I think we did a great job in the second half. Mistakes are made, officials are humans and I feel it's part of the game."

Reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors extended their winning streak to 13 games, while the Philadelphia 76ers claimed a crucial victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Raptors (38-14) stayed hot with a 115-106 win away to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday – a franchise record 10th straight road victory.

Serge Ibaka fuelled the Raptors with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Fred VanVleet (20 points) and Kyle Lowry (16 points, 11 assists) made solid contributions.

Lowry moved third on Toronto's all-time list for scoring, surpassing Vince Carter, before leaving the game with whiplash.

Eastern Conference rivals the 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Grizzlies 119-107 in Philadelphia.

Struggling on the road, the 76ers impressed again at Wells Fargo Center thanks to 22 points and 10 assists from Ben Simmons.

A stiff neck limited Joel Embiid to 10 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes.

 

What the Furk?

Forget about Simmons, Embiid and Tobias Harris, it was the Furkan Korkmaz show in Philadelphia. Korkmaz had a career-high 34 points. The Turkish import made 13 of 17 shots, including seven of nine three-pointers.

All-Star Jayson Tatum posted 32 points to lead the Boston Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks 112-107. John Collins had 30 points for the visiting Hawks.

Kelly Oubre Jr. (39) and Devin Booker (33) combined for 72 points as the Phoenix Suns crushed the Houston Rockets 127-91.

 

Brown headlines Pistons' struggles

The post-Andre Drummond error started with a loss for the Detroit Pistons and starter Bruce Brown was among those to struggle in the 108-101 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brown was one of nine from the field for just four points in 33 minutes.

Only two Grizzlies starters reached double-digit points – Ja Morant (15) and Jonas Valanciunas (14, 10 rebounds). Jaren Jackson Jr. (six points), Dillon Brooks (nine points) and Kyle Anderson (six) struggled.

Russell Westbrook sat out and the Houston had a night to forget. While James Harden recorded 32 points, his Rockets team-mates struggled. Houston only made 29 of 85 shots at 34.1 per cent.

 

Beal with the game-winner!

Bradley Beal was the hero for the Washington Wizards, who stunned the Dallas Mavericks 119-118 at the buzzer.

 

Friday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 119-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Boston Celtics 112-107 Atlanta Hawks
Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 115-106 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 119-118 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns 127-91 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 105-97 Miami Heat
Utah Jazz 117-114 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Lakers at Warriors

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and in-form Raptors are in action on Saturday, however, all eyes will be on the Los Angeles Lakers. After being upstaged by the Rockets at Staples Center, LeBron James and the Lakers (38-12) travel to the lowly Golden State Warriors (12-40).

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Andrew Wiggins is a "better positional fit" for the NBA franchise than D'Angelo Russell.

Russell was only acquired by the Warriors in a sign-and-trade in July following Kevin Durant's departure to the Brooklyn Nets via free agency, however, Golden State dealt the star guard to the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to Thursday's trade deadline.

In return, the Warriors claimed shooting guard and 2014 number one draft pick Wiggins to compliment All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

"We know that Andrew is a better positional fit for us than what D'Angelo was, just given that Steph and Klay will be back by next season -- hopefully before then in Steph's case, " Kerr said.

"So he's a good positional fit, athletically -- now it's a matter of catching Andrew up to speed with what we like to do here and really trying to make an impact on him regarding our process and how we like to do our business and how we can help him get better and how he can help our team get better.

"That's gonna be what these next couple months are about from a team process, along with helping grow and develop the younger players."

Kerr added: "To be perfectly blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed him. Nobody questioned that.

"When you already have Steph and Klay and you add a ball-dominant guard you can rightfully question the fit. That was one of those reasons the trade rumours started before the season even began and I think D'Angelo understood that before he signed the contract."

This season, Wiggins has been averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

As for Russell, he has landed with his fourth team in his fifth NBA season as the All-Star prepares to team up with friend Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota.

"I've been seeing from a distance, and from close-up, the ship that Karl's kind of been driving around here for years," Russell said on Friday. "Players come and go from here. I take it they didn't appreciate the situation here or whatever that may be, but watching from a distance I knew I could help Karl. I've never played with a dynamic big just like him."

Russell has been averaging 23.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in 2019-20.

An investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna has found no evidence of major internal engine failure.

NBA great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianni were among nine people who tragically died when the aircraft they were travelling in came down in Calabasas, California last month.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Friday released its preliminary findings from the January 26 crash, revealing the two engines appeared to be working at the time of impact as a piece of cut tree branch was found 30 feet from the impact crater.

It was also stated that significant components of the helicopter were located within the wreckage area and examination of main and tail rotor assemblies "found damage consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact."

The main wreckage was about 127 feet from a two-foot-deep impact crater and the helicopter's instrument panel was totally destroyed.

Prior to crashing, the 50-year-old pilot asked for special clearance to proceed into airspace that was otherwise limited to instrument-controlled flights due to a low cloud ceiling and low visibility.

During his last transmission the pilot, who had been flying for Island Express Helicopters for about 10 years, said he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above cloud layers.

The helicopter rose to about 1,500 feet above Highway 101 but started to descend as it turned left and the rate of descent increased to 4,000 feet per minute at a ground speed of 160 knots, the report stated.

A witness said the area where the helicopter, which he saw for up to two seconds after it emerged from the clouds, crashed was surrounded by mist.

It was also noted that videos and photos taken by the public in the area of the accident depict fog and low clouds obscuring the hilltops.

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, revealed a celebration of the life of her husband and teenage daughter Gianna will take place at Staples Center on February 24.

A celebration of the life of Kobe and Gianni Bryant will take place at Staples Center on February 24.

NBA legend Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianni were among nine people who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California last month.

Vanessa Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers great's wife, confirmed a memorial service will be staged at 10am local time on the last Monday of this month, with further details to follow.

She said the date was significant as talented basketballer Gianna wore number two and Kobe - who was 41 when his life was cut short - donned the 24 jersey late in his phenomenal 20-year career with the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 24, but Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center, said there will be no problem getting the court ready after what will be an emotional event.

"Staples Center has hosted over 220 doubleheaders in its 20-year history," Zeidman said.

"While this is going to be a very emotional day for the Bryant family, the Los Angeles Lakers, the City of Los Angeles, as well as for the men and women who work at Staples Center.

"We are very confident we will be ready for 6pm doors opening for the Clippers-Memphis game following the ceremony."

Joel Embiid acknowledged he needs to "smile a little more" and readjust his mindset after the Philadelphia 76ers went down 112-101 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 76ers lost for a fourth straight NBA game on Thursday, all on the road, and Embiid endured a mixed display, scoring just four first-half points and ending with 19 from 6-of-26 shooting.

Embiid later said his troublesome left hand, which he had surgery on last month, was causing some issues but insists that was not the reason for his patchy showing.

"I'm trying to get back to the fun Joel, smile a little more," Embiid told reporters. 

"The whole season I told myself I was going to be serious. I felt like everyone looked at [me] in a way that I'm moody or I might not care. I do. I want to win. 

"But at the same time I try to have a different attitude. Obviously, it hasn't been working. Gotta go back to that fun Joel, fun personality. [But] still locked in. Try to help us any way I can."

Team-mate Al Horford said the 76ers are trying to "find ourselves" as they aim to come out of a rut.

"I think it puts a lot of things in perspective," he said. "And desperation. We've lost four in a row now. 

"It's like finding ourselves. Trying to figure it out. I think good is going to come out of this."

Russell Westbrook paid tribute to "mentor, friend and brother" Kobe Bryant after inspiring the Houston Rockets to victory at the Los Angeles Lakers.

NBA great Bryant, who spent his entire career with the Lakers, and his teenage daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash last month.

Westbrook grew up in California and put up 41 points as the Rockets ran out 121-111 winners at Staples Center on Thursday.

Speaking to TNT post-game, Westbrook dedicated his performance to Bryant.

"Man, it's a blessing. I don't take this game for granted," Westbrook said. 

"Kobe was a mentor, a friend, a brother to me and every time I step on this floor it's definitely going out to him. 

"Every night I step on the floor, I keep him and his family in my thoughts."

LeBron James contributed 18 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds in the Lakers' losing effort and he believes Westbrook, now 31, has mixed pace and strength with smarter play.

"Of course [his pace and strength are still there], and [he's] smarter - that's what it's all about," James told reporters. 

"We can continue to get older and age in this game, but we continue to get smarter. 

"Russ is a much more complete basketball player right now, he has the ability to use speed and strength but also do things with his brain which helps out a lot."

Russell Westbrook scored 41 points as the new-look Houston Rockets upstaged the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers 121-111 in NBA action.

While Rockets team-mate James Harden struggled, Westbrook was red hot in a stunning performance to take down rivals the Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Robert Covington made his debut for the Rockets, who traded away center Clint Capela prior to the deadline in a bid to become smaller and faster on the court, and he impressed with 14 points – including four three-pointers.

Double-doubles from LeBron James (18 points, 15 assists) and Anthony Davis (32 points, 13 rebounds) were not enough for the Lakers.

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks defeated the struggling Philadelphia 76ers 112-101 earlier on Thursday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo produced another dominant performance with 36 points and 20 rebounds as the Bucks improved to 44-7 for the season.

Antetokounmpo had 30-plus points and 15 or more rebounds for the fifth consecutive game and the 14th time this season. Antetokounmpo also became just the fifth player in Bucks history to record a 30-20 game and the first since 1996.

 

Zion flexes muscles… again

Zion Williamson continues to star. The 2019 number one pick posted his fourth consecutive 20-point game – the longest streak among rookies this season. Williamson finished with 21 as the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Chicago Bulls 125-110.

Damian Lillard put up 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the San Antonio Spurs 125-117.

 

More woes for 76ers & Embiid

Much had been made about Philadelphia's form on the road and their chemistry, or lack thereof. And the 76ers crashed to their fourth straight loss – dropping to 9-19 away from home. Joel Embiid put up 19 points and 11 rebounds but it was a rough night for the All-Star. Cutting a dejected figure, Embiid was just six of 26 from the floor and three of 10 from three-point range. The 76ers struggled with 37.4 per cent shooting, hitting just 37 of 99 shots.

Harden was far from his best in Los Angeles. Harden was three of 10 from the floor and one of six from beyond the arc for 14 points in 35 minutes.

 

LeBron with the reverse jam!

James turned back the clock with a monster dunk against the Rockets.

 

Thursday's results

New York Knicks 105-103 Orlando Magic
New Orleans Pelicans 125-119 Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks 112-101 Philadelphia 76ers
Portland Trail Blazers 125-117 San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets 121-111 Los Angeles Lakers

 

Raptors at Pacers

Can the red-hot Toronto Raptors (37-14) extend their winning streak to 13 games? The defending champions are on the road against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers (31-20) on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed his satisfaction with the Milwaukee Bucks not trading at the deadline, insisting "we're the best team in the NBA".

The NBA-leading Bucks did not make any moves prior to Thursday's deadline, opting to keep faith in the team who continue to dominate this season.

After the Bucks improved to 44-7 thanks to a 112-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Milwaukee, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo told reporters: "I think a lot of teams are getting players so they can play against us, so they can guard us better. 

"But I think we're the best team in the NBA; we have the best record in the NBA.

"For me, I think there should not be any change. Thank God there wasn't. I think the guys we have, the chemistry we have on the team is amazing right now.

"The guys we have are playing great. These are the guys I've been going to war with all season and I'm happy we have the same team."

Antetokounmpo produced another dominant performance with 36 points and 20 rebounds against the visiting 76ers.

The 'Greek Freak' had 30-plus points and 15 or more rebounds for the fifth consecutive game and the 14th time this season. Antetokounmpo also became just the fifth player in Bucks history to record a 30-20 game and the first since 1996.

"It's crazy," Antetokounmpo said. "I'm happy that we're winning and we're playing good. But I can get a lot better.

"I can be smarter; I can be sharper. I can make better passes on time, make three-point shots and two-point shots. That's the mindset I have."

 

LeBron James joined John Stockton and Chris Paul as the only players in NBA history with 18,000 points, 9,000 assists and 2,000 steals.

James joined the exclusive club during the Los Angeles Lakers' clash with Western Conference rivals the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Last month, three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP James surpassed Lakers great Kobe Bryant to become the league's third-highest scorer of all time.

James, 35, has been averaging 25.2 points, 10.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Lakers this season.

Prior to Thursday's game, the Lakers topped the west with a 38-11 record, ahead of city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers (36-15).

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