LeBron James stands alone. Again. Plus, the Celtics stay dominant


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None of you have scored more points in college basketball than Caitlin Clark.


40,000 Points

LeBron’s newest scoring milestone

Every time LeBron James makes a basket, he makes history by running up his record-breaking total of career points and further separating himself from the game’s greatest bucket-getters. He’s now reached 40,000 points. The number itself doesn’t make sense but keeps growing.

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As people noted on social media, LeBron has reached the 10k threshold in three triple-double categories for his career, with over 40,000 points, 11,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists. Nobody else in NBA history can say they have done that for their career. To put his scoring feat into context, the scoring totals Dwight Howard (19,485) and Jamal Crawford (19,419) don’t add up to LeBron’s record-breaking (and still-growing) career figure.

Assuming LeBron stays healthy and plays at least one more season, we could make the same comparison between David Robinson (20,790) and George Gervin (20,708) when next season ends.

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When you really sit down and think about his longevity and consistency – which has been the context of LeBron for the past couple of years – it really just doesn’t make sense. It’s truly unreasonable what he’s been able to accomplish. To put it into further perspective, Luka Dončić must average 33 points per game and play in 70 games a season for the next 12-plus years to reach 40,000.

 


The Latest From Shams

Devin Booker update

The Suns are bracing for Devin Booker’s right ankle sprain to keep him sidelined for at least the next 7-10 days, league sources tell me.

Booker suffered the injury Saturday against Houston. The Suns (35-26, seventh in West) are just 4-7 without Booker in the lineup this season. Phoenix sits a game behind the Pelicans for fifth in the West but is just two and a half games in front of the Lakers, who hold the final Play-In spot.

The Suns have a tough stretch ahead, with two games against Boston and matchups against Denver and Cleveland looming in the next two weeks.


Stock Market

Let’s check the post-weekend trends!

The weekend is over. The season is chugging along. And the NBA’s trends had some massive movement — both good and bad. Let’s check in on the market and see where everybody is heading:

📈 Celtics dominance. So, Boston is not only on an 11-game winning streak, sporting the best net rating (plus-11.5) since the 1996-97 Bulls (plus-11.8) and the NBA’s highest offensive rating ever (121.7 points per 100 possessions). The East-leading Celtics (48-12) have done all that and beat the Warriors (32-28, ninth in West) by 52 points yesterday to set the NBA’s record for most 50-point wins in a single season (three).

Boston had three 50-point wins in team history entering this season. Aside from injuries, there is zero reason for the Celtics to not make the Finals.

📈 Here come the Nuggets (42-19, third in West), who remain red-hot, with six straight victories. Their last four have come against Golden State, Sacramento (34-25, sixth in West), Miami (34-26, seventh in East) and the Lakers (33-29, 10th in West). Nikola Jokić is averaging 24.6 points on 62.0 percent from the field with 14.2 rebounds and 11.7 assists during this streak. The Nuggets face the Celtics on Thursday. 👀

📉 Knicks health. New York (36-25, fourth in East) is already down three starters, with the injuries to OG Anunoby, Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle. One minute into yesterday’s game against the Cavs (39-21, third in East), Jalen Brunson went down with a knee injury and did not return. Miles McBride entered the game and never checked out. He helped Josh Hart and company gut out a big win over Cleveland (sans Donovan Mitchell). The Knicks can’t afford their best player to also miss significant time.

📉 Size mattering. First of all, relax. I’m talking about large human bodies on the basketball court — particularly when trying to bully the very thin and young OKC Thunder (42-18, first in West). Jusuf Nurkić had 18 points and 31 rebounds against the Thunder’s small frontcourt as OKC blew a 24-point, second-half lead. And yet, they clamped up Kevin Durant (easier to do when Devin Booker is out) the best they could and they made plays to win 118-110 in Phoenix (35-26, seventh in West).

📈 The Bucks have won five straight games, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is dunking on everybody. Milwaukee (40-21, second in East) is only 8-7 under Doc Rivers but has the fourth-ranked defense since he took over 15 games ago.

📉 Lakers winning games with big celebrations. When LeBron passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring record, the Lakers lost to the Thunder. When they unveiled Kobe Bryant’s statue last month, the Lakers lost to the Nuggets. When LeBron cracked 40k this weekend, they lost to Denver again. The Lakers should never break another record.

📈 Block parties. In February, Victor Wembanyama (53) had more blocks than the Wizards, Kings, Bulls, Clippers, Trail Blazers and Heat. For the season, Wemby is averaging a league-high 3.4 blocks per game. No rookie has led the NBA in blocks since Manute Bol in 1985-86. The highest career block average is 3.5 by Mark Eaton. Wemby will break every block record imaginable.


Wondering about 100

Did Wilt’s 100-point game actually happen?

Can you really hit the Wilt Chamberlain 100-point game with a “pics or it didn’t happen” argument? That’s what the internet has kind of been doing! Paul Farhi had a fun piece about the growing modern-day skepticism of Wilt’s century mark scoring game that happened back on March 2, 1962. People all over the internet have questioned the validity of this scoring feat for the better part of a decade.

Why? It’s a great question. I, personally, have used recent downtime to learn Swedish on an app just to see if I can. And yes, before you ask, I do know how to say, “The hippo is eating strawberries.” Flodhästen äter jordgubbar. That was the app’s first lesson.

So, if other people decide to debunk the greatest scoring performance in NBA history, let’s see why they don’t believe in it? I can name a few reasons:

  • There is no video of the game — no TV broadcast, nothing. And there’s a very limited radio broadcast tape that was recovered in 1988, but it’s only of the fourth quarter.
  • Wilt shot 28-of-32 from the free-throw line in that game? Hot night for a career 51.1 percent free-throw shooter. He shot 61.8 percent in the prior six games.
  • There are claims the NBA made it up to garner much-needed interest, which the incredible 1962 season by Chamberlain did manage to catalyze. Averaging 50 points might do that.
  • It happened in Hershey, Pa., which is not an NBA city, and only 4,124 people attended. And those numbers were probably a lie.

It would be such an absolutely insane thing for the NBA to make up. Would it make for good marketing? Sure. But what a crazy conspiracy to believe in. We don’t hit them with “pics or it didn’t happen” for George Mikan’s exploits or dated film proof that the Celtics actually did win eight straight championships.

Regardless, I believe he did have that 100-point game, and so should you. It was never challenged during his lifetime, and there are actual eyewitness accounts. Jag älskar NBA.


Bounce Passes

Don’t forget: The Nuggets are still the NBA’s biggest problem.

Closing games remains an issue for the Timberwolves.


Screen Game (All times Eastern)

Main Screen: Clippers-Bucks (8 p.m. NBA TV). The Clippers are on a back-to-back, but yesterday had an early game. This is a fun matchup.

Second Screen: Thunder-Lakers (10:30 p.m. NBA TV). OKC will be on a back-to-back. The Lakers must eye home-court advantage for the 9-10 matchup in the Play-In.

League Pass Game of the Night: Bulls-Kings (10 p.m.). This could be real fun,  but the other options are bad. Full schedule here.

(Top photo: Jim Poorten  / Getty Images )





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