LOS ANGELES (AP)LeBron James became the NBA’s career scoring leader on a stepback jumper late in the third quarter, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record during his 38-point performance in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
James surpassed the mark held since April 1984 by Abdul-Jabbar, who watched the game from a baseline seat near the Lakers’ bench. Abdul-Jabbar then joined an emotional James and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on the court after the historic basket.
James scored 20 points in the first half with a full showcase of the offensive talent that still shines blindingly after two decades in the NBA, and he tore through the record in a 16-point third quarter capped by that pretty jumper.
The game was stopped for about 10 minutes while James hugged his family and participated in a brief ceremony with Silver and Abdul-Jabbar.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 points and Jalen Williams had 25 for the Thunder, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the 13th-place Lakers near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
Anthony Davis managed just 13 points for the Lakers, and the Thunder never trailed in the second half. James scored only two points in the fourth quarter, putting him atop the career scoring list with 38,390 points.
SUNS 116, NETS 112
NEW YORK (AP) – Deandre Ayton matched his career high with 35 points, Devin Booker scored 19 in his first game since Christmas and Phoenix held off Cam Thomas and Brooklyn.
The 21-year-old Thomas led a late charge and finished with 43 points, becoming the youngest player in NBA history with three straight 40-point games. He had 44 and a career-high 47 points in his previous two games.
Mikal Bridges had 17 of his 21 points in the second half and played a key role in the defensive effort that cooled off Thomas just long enough for the Suns to build a 12-point lead with 2:25 remaining.
Booker missed the previous 21 games with a strained left groin.
Thomas rallied the Nets mostly from the free-throw line, and his intentional miss with 4.1 seconds remaining left the Suns with a 114-112 lead. He then fouled Ayton, who finished it off with two free throws after going 14 for 18 from the field and grabbing 15 rebounds.
NUGGETS 146, TIMBERWOLVES 112
DENVER (AP) – Nikola Jokic posted his 19th triple-double of the season by halftime and Denver rode a 49-point first quarter to a rout of Minnesota.
Jokic finished with 20 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds. It was the second time in his career the big man has notched a triple-double by halftime. Jokic took a seat late in the third quarter.
Denver led 49-19 after the first quarter as the Nuggets shot 79.2% from the floor. The 49 points tied for the second-most in a quarter in the franchise’s NBA history. Michael Porter Jr. led the way by scoring 19 of his 30 points in the opening period.
Aaron Gordon added 24 for the Nuggets, who set season highs in points and assists (44).
Anthony Edwards and Luka Garza both had 19 points for Minnesota.
KNICKS 102, MAGIC 98
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Jalen Brunson scored 25 points and made the go-ahead basket with 1:13 left, Julius Randle had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and New York beat Orlando.
Brunson’s running bank shot put the Knicks up for good at 94-93. He then fed Jericho Sims for a dunk and a three-point lead.
The teams combined to shoot 10 free throw attempts in the final 7.7 seconds. The only miss was by Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, who intentionally tried to set up a tying basket with 2.3 seconds remaining.
Markelle Fultz led the Magic with 21 points. Franz Wagner added 18 points and Banchero finished with 16 points after being held to four in the first half.
PELICANS 116, HAWKS 107
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Brandon Ingram scored 30 points, CJ McCollum added 21 and New Orleans beat Atlanta for its third straight victory.
Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans.
The Pelicans led 111-95 when Trey Murphy III hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 3:24 to go. Atlanta responded with a 7-0 run, but New Orleans held on.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 22 points for Atlanta and Dejounte Murray scored 19. Trae Young had 16 points and 16 assists.
GRIZZLIES 104, BULLS 89
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Ja Morant scored 34 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 24 points and five blocks, and Memphis rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Chicago.
Desmond Bane finished with 17 points and Brandon Clarke had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who stopped a three-game skid.
Nikola Vucevic had 28 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls, whose three-game winning streak ended. Chicago played without leading scorer DeMar DeRozan because of right hip soreness.
Zach LaVine scored 24 points for Chicago.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports