LeBron James claimed another piece of NBA history on Tuesday, becoming the first player to surpass the 39,000-point mark as the Los Angeles Lakers routed the Utah Jazz to reach the playoff knockout from the new league season tournament.
The 38-year-old, who needed just five points to reach that milestone before the game, etched his name in the record books with a three-pointer in the first quarter of a 131-99 Lakers victory .
James, who passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last season to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, waved to the crowd as his feat was announced.
James’ latest record set the tone for a festive occasion at Crypto.com Arena as the Lakers earned a wire-to-wire victory and reached the quarterfinals of the season tournament.
James finished with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Anthony Davis led the Lakers’ scorers with 26 points, 16 rebounds and four assists.
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant also reached a milestone by moving up to 11th place on the NBA’s career scoring list during Phoenix’s 120-107 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Durant needed 14 points to overtake Elvin Hayes in the scoring charts and duly toppled them in a scoreless first quarter. Durant finished with 31 points to lead Phoenix in scoring, bringing his career total to 27,331 points.
– The Pacers advance –
The Indiana Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 157-152 in a spirited shootout to also reach the round of 16.
Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton, who said this week the new tournament gave “more juice” to early-season games, scored 22 of his 37 points in the third quarter as the Pacers erased a 20-year deficit points in the first half.
In the fourth quarter, it was Buddy Hield who stepped up, scoring 13 of his 24 points as the Pacers emerged victorious in a furious back-and-forth.
“It’s good to clinch,” said Haliburton – who also dished out 16 assists – after the Pacers improved to 3-0 in tournament play and secured first place in East Group A. “Buddy won the game for us down the stretch, a lot of big buckets.
Hield’s three-pointer put Indiana up 152-150 with 1:20 left. After Saddiq Bey brought Atlanta back level with a layup, Hield made another three-pointer for a 155-152 Pacers lead with less than a minute remaining.
Hield capped the outrageous score with an alley-oop dunk with five-tenths of a second remaining.
Hield connected on nine of 11 from the field and made all six of his three-point attempts.
Obi Toppin scored 21 points off the bench for Indiana and Bennedict Mathurin added 19.
Trae Young scored 38 points to lead the Hawks, who led by 20 in the second quarter.
The quarterfinals will be played on December 4 and 5, with the winners advancing to the semifinals on December 7 and the championship match on December 9 in Las Vegas.
It was a close finale in Philadelphia, where Darius Garland scored 32 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 122-119 overtime victory over the 76ers.
This kept the Cavs’ hopes of advancing in the tournament via a wild card spot alive.
Jarrett Allen scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while Max Strus made five three-pointers en route to 20 points for the Cavs, who were successful despite once again playing without injured Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Tyrese Maxey added 30 points for Philadelphia, but the 76ers were eliminated from the tournament.