LeBron James moves within 100 points of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, into 4th all-time in assists in win over Knicks

The Lakers next face the Pacers on Thursday.

LeBron James does it all.

The Los Angeles Lakers star moved within striking distance of the NBA's all-time scoring title on Tuesday while passing a pair of point guard greats on the career assist chart.

James entered Tuesday needing 117 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's all-time scoring leader. He's that much closer after a 28-point effort in a 129-123 win over the New York Knicks in overtime. He now has 38,299 points and trails Abdul-Jabbar by 89.

James secured his first triple-double of the season, adding 10 rebounds and 11 assists. That's also a milestone. He's now the first NBA player to record a triple-double in his 20th season.

LeBron passes Jackson, Nash

James is also climbing up the all-time assists leaderboard. He started Tuesday's game needing nine assists to pass both Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to move into fourth all-time. He passed Jackson with his eighth dish of the night then passed Nash with his ninth via a bounce pass in traffic to set up a Thomas Bryant dunk in the fourth quarter.

Only John Stockton (15,806), Jason Kidd (12,901) and Chris Paul (11,246) have more assists than James (10,328). James is the only non-point guard to crack the top 20. While the scoring chase is in the spotlight, James' greatness as a passer and all-around player remains on full display.

James outdueled Knicks guard Jalen Brunsen, who posted 37 points and 6 assists while making plays down the stretch to keep the Knicks in the game. But James' Lakers held on in overtime after giving up a 6-0 Knicks run in the final 1:33 of regulation to send the game to the extra session.

The Lakers picked up the much-needed win as they look to move into playoff position. With the win, they improved to 24-28, two games behind the 10th-place Utah Jazz who would claim the Western Conference's final play-in spot if the regular season ended on Tuesday.

Jan 31, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) controls the ball against New York Knicks guards Quentin Grimes (6) and Jalen Brunson (11) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James posted a triple-double against the Knicks to get close to Kareem and pass Mark Jackson and Steve Nash on the career assists list. (Brad Penner/Reuters)

LeBron James breaking scoring record is just a matter of time

James isn't pursuing Kareem's record on the late-stage fumes of his remarkable career. Far from it. His 30.2-point scoring average through 40 games would stand as the third-highest scoring rate of his 20 NBA seasons.

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 Knicks was the 1,407th of James' career.

The pace has James on track to pass Abdul-Jabbar against the Thunder on Feb. 7 if he doesn't miss any games. Here's the upcoming slate of Lakers games as James pursues one of the last great milestones of his basketball career.

Thursday: at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

Saturday: 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)