LeBron James is 9 points shy of reaching 40,000 career points

Lakers LeBron James is 9 points shy of reaching 40,000 career points

USA Today Network

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James needs only nine points to become the first player in NBA history to reach 40,000 career points, after scoring 31 in Thursday night’s 134-131 overtime win against the Washington Wizards.

The 20-time All-Star added four rebounds, nine assists, and one steal and block while finishing 12-of-24 (50%) shooting from the floor, 2-of-5 (40%) from 3-point range, and 5-of-7 (71.4%) at the foul line.

“We had to get some stops, and we had to execute offensively,” James said. “Not turn the ball over. It’s a tough league, and after last night’s victory, we had to come in against a young, scrappy team that’s not playing for much, just playing hard, a lot of speed, a lot of youth, and obviously it took us 53 minutes to get the job done.”

James, 39, has 39,991 career points as the NBA’s leading all-time scorer. Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, who is three years and nine months younger than James, is the closest active player on the league’s all-time scoring list.

Durant, 35, currently has 28,342 points through 16 seasons.

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James could reach 40,000 career points Saturday vs. Denver Nuggets

On the NBA’s all-time scoring list, James leads Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Dirk Nowitzki (31,560), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Julius Erving (30,026), Moses Malone (29,580), Shaquille O’Neal (28,596), Carmelo Anthony (28,289), and Durant.

Barring an injury, the four-time MVP will reach 40,000 career points Saturday on national television against the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have defeated the Lakers seven straight games.

Furthermore, in the Lakers’ 114-106 loss to Denver on Feb. 8, the future Hall of Famer notched 25 points, nine boards, seven assists, and one steal and block in 35 minutes of action.

Through 53 games (all starts) this season, James is averaging 25.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 35 minutes per game while shooting 52.5% from the field and a career-best 40.8% beyond the arc.

Additionally, in Los Angeles’ 129-120 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 23, James recorded a season-high 40 points on 13-of-20 (65%) shooting from the floor, 5-of-5 (100%) from deep, and 9-of-9 (100%) at the foul line.

The 21-year veteran ranks 16th in the NBA this season in points (1,339), 15th in points per game, ninth in field goals (506), 18th in field goal attempts (963), and 13th in 2-point field goals (388).

According to a few NBA betting sites, LeBron James holds fifth-shortest odds to win NBA Clutch Player of the Year. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for Stephen Curry, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Damian Lillard, and DeMar DeRozan.