Move Over Wilt the Stilt, the King has passed you.
LeBron James scored 44 points and surpassed Lakers legend Wilt Chamberlain for fifth place on the NBA's All-Time scoring list, as Los Angeles defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 126-117, for their fourth consecutive win, on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
There was cause for celebration at the sold out arena, not because of LeBron, but because the last time the Lakers had defeated the Trail Blazers at Staples Center was February 22, 2013. The victory snapped a nine-game losing streak at home.
In easily his best game as a Laker, LeBron dominated both ends of the court, as the King clamped down on the Blazers backcourt and nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 44 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two blocks. He also went 5-for-6 from beyond the arc.
James scored 28 of his 44 points in the second half and vaulted past Chamberlain's 31,419 points on that three-point play with 3:55 to go. LeBron finished a memorable night with 31,425 points, and fell just short of the 75th triple-double of his career.
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Afterward, James praised Chamberlain as "One of the most dominant forces we ever had in our game, along with Shaq. One of the greatest Lakers to ever play the game. A 100-point scorer. One of the greatest scorer-rebounders to ever play this game."
But the kid from Akron will never let it get to his head.
In fact, he will donate his jersey and the game ball to his I Promise School back in Ohio.
"Anytime my name is mentioned with some of the greats to play this game, I always think back to my hometown, where I come from, how far I've come," James said.
LeBron's best series came with 2:32 left in the third quarter. Nik Stauskas went up for a wide-open dunk, but was rejected by James on a devastating block that sent both players to the floor.
"LeBron, it was a dominant performance," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "(Scoring) 44 points on 19 shots, that doesn't happen too often. When he's hitting his 3s and putting his head down, he's tough to stop."
James got back up, ran the length o the court, spun past Al-Farouq Aminhu and laid up a one-handed finger roll.
In their last meeting, the Lakers snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Trail Blazers with a 114-100 win at the Moda Center.
The Lakers have gone toe-to-toe with the Trail Blazers three times in their first 12 games of the regular season, but won't play Portland again until the final game of the regular season on April 9, 2019.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 31 points and 11 assists. C.J. McCollum scored 23 points.
Javale McGee scored 20 points, Brandon Ingram had 17, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 off the bench.
There was bad news on an otherwise triumphant night: After the game, Walton revealed that Rajon Rondo broke his right hand, apparently while making a steal in the fourth quarter. The veteran point guard will be sidelined for at least a few weeks, and starter Lonzo Ball's so-far moderate workload is likely to increase.
"It's tough," James said. "He's one of our captains, one of our leaders. I know he'll get right to it with his rehab, but it's next man up."
Trail Blazers: Lillard played without restrictions after missing practice to rest his right knee. ... Portland's four-game winning streak ended, but the Blazers are still on top of the Northwest Division. ... Jusuf Nurkic had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Al-Farouq Aminu scored 18 points.
Lakers: The 6-foot-5 Josh Hart blocked a dunk attempt by the 7-foot Nurkic in the first quarter. ... Michael Beasley didn't play, but the veteran was back in uniform after missing several recent games for undisclosed personal reasons. He hasn't played since Oct. 25.
The Blazers delivered two hard fouls against James in the fourth quarter, both requiring him to spend an extra moment recovering. McCollum floored James with a foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul with 4:38 left, and then Nurkic appeared to use his two fists to make a crybaby gesture when talking to officials about it.
"LeBron carried them," Nurkic said. "When he's making shots, outside shots, he's tough to handle."
Trail Blazers: At Minnesota on Friday night.
Lakers: At Orlando on Saturday night.