The 38-year-old finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Los Angeles Lakers’ crucial 129-123 overtime win against the New York Knicks, recording his first triple-double of the season and moving him to within 89 points of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record.
However, as he has done throughout his career, James showed there is much more to his game than scoring and also surpassed Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to move up to fourth place on the NBA’s all-time assist leaderboard with 10,338.
“It’s amazing because that’s just what I love to do and get my guys involved,” James said, per ESPN.
“Anytime you link with some of the greats – Mark Jackson played here, was drafted here by the Knicks, so it’s a super cool thing and obviously, we know when Nash was [in the league], I played against him for many, many years.
“His ability to pass the ball was very uncanny.”
The win ended the Lakers’ two-game losing streak as James, who has been managing an ankle injury all season, also became the only player in NBA history to rank inside the top five in both all-time points and assists.
“He’s just a kid who’s grown before our eyes, the last 20 years at this level, has done nothing but play the right way and make the play that’s in front of him,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said, per ESPN.
“Regardless of how much he’s been criticized for a while for not taking the last shots and the overpassing, he’s just making the right plays. You saw that again tonight.”
The Lakers are still only 13th in the West with a 24-28 record, but remain just three games back from fifth place in an usually condensed Western Conference.
The Knicks, meanwhile, continue to struggle and have lost six of their last eight games.
Jalen Brunson scored a game-high 37 points to go with six assists, while Julius Randle notched 23 points, 12 rebounds and and five assists.