NBA: LeBron passes Malone tally but Lakers slump

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 20 2022 11:38 AM

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (R) in action against Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura during the second quarter of the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Washington Wizards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, USA, 11 March 2022. File photo. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (R) in action against Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura during the second quarter of the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Washington Wizards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, USA, 11 March 2022. File photo. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES -- LeBron James moved into second place on the NBA's all-time regular season points scoring rankings on Saturday but could not prevent the Los Angeles Lakers from slumping to defeat against the Washington Wizards.

James produced a typically virtuoso performance to finish with 38 points and 10 rebounds at the Wizards' Capital One Arena.

That was enough to power James past Karl Malone into second place in the regular season scorers rankings.

But it did not stop the Lakers from sliding to a jarring 127-119 loss against a Wizards side which had been on a six-game losing streak.

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James -– who holds the NBA's outright scoring record for regular season and playoff games -- started the game needing just 20 points to surpass Malone's regular season total of 36,928.

James wasted no time in hunting down Malone's benchmark, rapidly reaching double figures before moving to 16 points with back-to-back three-pointers early in the second quarter.

The four-time NBA champion then added another three-pointer to tie Malone, before finally taking sole possession of second place with a two-point layup with just over five minutes left in the second quarter.

The Washington crowd gave James an ovation after he reached the milestone, with the Lakers star saluting fans as he basked in the applause.

James' points haul leaves him with 36,947 career regular-season points, within range of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record of 38,387 points.

But James' celebratory moment was diminished after the Lakers suffered another fourth quarter collapse to allow the Wizards to claim victory.

The Wizards outscored the Lakers 34-20 in the final period, completing a comeback from a 16-point deficit to grab the win.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Washington comeback with 16 points in the fourth quarter, part of an overall tally of 27 points.

© Agence France-Presse