LeBron James posts 41 points vs. Celtics in pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record

Only 117 points to go for King James

Jan 28, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James is only a few games from NBA history. (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

LeBron James keeps moving forward, even on nights where he ends regulation in open disgust with the officials.

James entered Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics needing just 158 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. He finished the night with 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting (6-of-12 from deep) with nine rebounds and eight assists.

James is now only 117 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time mark.

That performance was just one part of a wild game against the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics, who were saved by a questionable no-call on a would-be James game-winner and pulled out a 125-121 win in overtime. James was outraged over the missed foul, which would have given him two free throws to break a tie at the end of regulation.

LeBron James breaking scoring record is just a matter of time

James is rapidly closing in on the scoring record, and he’s still playing incredible basketball while doing it. After Saturday's game, he is averaging 30.2 points through 40 games this season, which would be the third-best scoring output over his two-decade run in the league.

James averaged 20.9 points per game as a rookie and hasn't dipped below that pace since. He's on pace to break Abdul-Jabbar's record in 100-plus fewer games played than his fellow Lakers great. Abdul-Jabbar reached his tally of 38,387 points in 1,560 games; the Lakers' game against the Spurs was the 1,405th of James' career.

The season pace has James on track to pass Abdul-Jabbar on Feb. 4 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Here's the upcoming slate of Lakers games as James pursues one of the last great milestones of his basketball career.

Monday: at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBA TV)

Tuesday: at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Feb. 2: at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

Feb. 4: at New Orleans Pelicans, 8 p.m. ET

Feb. 7: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 10:30 p.m. ET

Feb. 9: vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 10 p.m. ET (TNT)

Feb. 11: at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Feb. 13: at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET

Feb. 15: vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)