LeBron James moves within 36 points of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's scoring title, could break record Tuesday

LeBron James is officially within striking distance of one of the NBA's most hallowed records.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar posted 27 points in a 131-126 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, moving James within 36 points of breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA all-time scoring record.

The performance sets up a pair of highly anticipated games at Crypto.com Arena next week, and some of the arena's most expensive ticket prices ever. With James likely needing one or two more games to make history, the Lakers are scheduled to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday and the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday on their home court. That's assuming James doesn't miss any time due to injury or some other reason.

Whichever game James breaks the record, Abdul-Jabbar plans to be there.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 04: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks against Jose Alvarado #15 and Naji Marshall #8 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on February 04, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
LeBron James' has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's scoring record in his sights. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

LeBron James could break scoring record in his next game

Even at age 38, James is scoring points at a rate that wouldn't look out of place from some of the best seasons of his career. His 30.0-point scoring average through 43 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 track 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 Pelicans was the 1,409th of James' career.

That season pace has James on track to pass Abdul-Jabbar against the Bucks on Thursday, but he's certainly capable of posting enough points to break the record against the Thunder on Tuesday. James has posted 36 points or more nine times this season, with six of them coming last month.

Here's the upcoming slate of Lakers games as James pursues one of the last great milestones of his basketball career:

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

Thursday: 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)