On Saturday night against the Washington Wizards, LeBron James officially surpassed Karl Malone for second place in the NBA's prestigious all-time scoring list. James, who currently has 36,947 points, is just 1,440 points away from overtaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the number one spot in the elite list.
"I'm always just lost for words. It's an honor for myself, for my family and friends and my hometown," James said after Saturday's game. "At the end of the day, all I care about are wins and losses," James added. "We just haven't been consistent all year."
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they didn't make James night more special after blowing a 16 point lead to the Wizards on the road. Los Angeles was in total control throughout the game but took their foot out of the gas and allowed Kristaps Porzingis to pounce on them late by scoring 27 points.
The Lakers' defensive woes continue.
The Lakers' defensive flaws have been apparent all year. Saturday's game against the Wizards was just one of the many times their defense wasn't good enough to hold on to their lead.
The purple and gold have now blown 13 double-digit leads this season (tied for second-most in the NBA), and the biggest reason this is so is because of their inability to get stops when their opponents climb back in the game.
"Defensively in the fourth, we wasn't as great as we were last night," Russell Westbrook, who put up 22 points, eight rebounds, and ten rebounds, said.
Just like in the fourth quarter against the Wizards, the Lakers couldn't maintain their switching defense to stop Porzingis. L.A. started the game by getting stops with their small-ball lineup, but as soon as the Wizards figured out how to beat their switching scheme, the former couldn't punch back.
"We just didn't play well when LeBron was out of the game tonight," Frank Vogel said postgame. "Dwight hadn't played all night, and we were beating them all night with our switches," he added. The head coach also said he adjusted his scheme when Porzingis was abusing their small-ball lineup, but it was too late as the big man hit a big shot to seal the game.
LeBron on passing Kareem
When James was asked postgame about his quest to overtake Abdul-Jabar in the scoring list, The King said he's not allowing himself to think about it. He says that he wants to pass Abdul-Jabaar organically and will only reflect on that moment when the time comes.
James inching closer to surpassing Abdul-Jabbar just further proves that he's having one of if not the best 19th season any player in NBA history has ever had. And if there's one thing for sure, James continues to add more to his astonishing legacy with his longevity on the court.