NBA

James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken'

By Sports Desk March 03, 2024

LeBron James cannot discount another player going on to reach 40,000 NBA points, as he celebrated reaching the milestone despite a Los Angeles Lakers loss.

The Lakers lost 124-114 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, though with a haul of 26 points, James reached 40,017 points.

When James reached nine points, he was presented with the game ball and received an ovation from the crowd at the Crypto.com arena.

Coincidentally, James surpassed the 40,000 mark on the 62nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.

While teammate Anthony Davis believes no other player will come close to matching James' points haul, James himself warned records are there to be broken, even though no other active player has yet reached 30,000 career points.

"Obviously we have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball, and if they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it," James said.

"And then, records are always meant to be broken. You can never say never for any record. At one point we said that Big O's [Oscar Robertson's] triple-double record would never be broken and Russ [Westbrook] did it, and now looks like Joker [Nikola Jokic] and Luka [Doncic], they're doing it every night.

"I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say."

Davis did joke, though, that James' record-setting games usually come in defeats for the Lakers.

"I was just telling him in the locker room he might have to stop breaking records because we always lose any time he breaks a record," Davis said. "And he said the same thing."

Indeed, that streak is quite something. James was on the losing side when he reached his 30,000th and 35,000th career points. When he became the all-time leading NBA points scorer last year, the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said.

"I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball tonight, but weren't able to close it out. So, bittersweet but enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

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    The Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 110-106 on Tuesday, meaning they progress to the first round of the playoffs.

    A series against the reigning NBA champions awaits, starting on Saturday.

    And James, who finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, knows the Lakers will have to deliver a near-perfect performance.

    "It's the defending champion," James said.

    "They know what it takes. They know how to win. They've been extremely dominant on their home floor over the last few years.

    "They've got an MVP on their team. They've got a closer on their team. They've got high-level players, high-IQ players, and they've got a hell of a coach.

    "So, we have to play mistake-free basketball. Make it tough on them. They're going to try to make it tough on us, obviously.

    "But if we can play as great of a game as we can play, and they're going to play as great of a game as they play, it's going come down to one or two possessions. We'll see who executes then."

    It was put to Lakers coach Darvin Ham that there had been reports the Lakers might throw their game against the Pelicans in order to go up against either the Sacramento Kings or the Golden State Warriors in the other play-in game.

    The Kings ultimately won, and will now face the Pelicans, with the prize a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Western Conference's No.1 seed.

    "There was a report of what?" an incredulous Ham said. "Insane asylum sources say?"

    The Lakers reached the Conference Finals last year, and Anthony Davis is confident Los Angeles are coming into their best form at the opportune moment.

    "I think we're clicking at the right time," Davis said.

    "Guys are playing well. Guys are very confident. Guys are feeling good. And we're going to need it, especially against Denver."

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    Sacramento, who were led by Keegan Murray's 32 points, lost to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs last year.

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    "We knew what was on the line," said Fox, who scored 24 points for the Kings.

    "This was just another obstacle in our way. We have to get over this hump.

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    The Warriors, meanwhile, have now missed out on the playoffs for the third time in the past five seasons.

    "I was a sophomore in high school watching them win championships [four titles between 2015 and 2022]," Fox said.

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    Speaking to reporters, James said: “It was a good all-round team win. This was a long road trip, you almost forget we were in Memphis before these two games.

    “Tonight was definitely a play-off game so get your mind right, get your body right, try to get as much recovery as we can before we have to go out there on Saturday.

    “It’s a sprint now, we already went through the marathon. Tonight we showcased what we’re able to do both offensively and defensively. We’ve got a good group going right now, a good rotation, good plan and guys are coming in ready to go.”

    James, who will compete in the play-offs for the 17th time in 21 seasons, feels his team have their work cut out against the Nuggets.

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