The 132-123 win against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday proved to be a historic one for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. It was not only the first game in James’ NBA career that he started as a center but also the one in which he topped the 36,000 career points mark.
The Lakers entered the Rockets game shorthanded, having multiple players and coaches out due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols. In order to deal with the lack of options, assistant David Fizdale, who was filling for head coach Frank Vogel, made a bold move to start James at the center position.
The move worked surprisingly well, as James became a mismatch nightmare for the young Rockets team. He finished the contest with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. It was the sixth straight game in which the 37-year-old scored 30+ points.
The 32 points against the Rockets meant that James has now scored 36,001 career points in the NBA. With that, he became the only player in NBA history besides Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone to reach and top the 36K-points mark.
After struggling with injuries early in the season, LeBron James has lately proved that he still remains one of the best players in the league. He is currently averaging 27.6 points per contest, the most since 2009, while also putting up 7.0 boards and dishing 6.7 assists.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, this still isn’t enough to establish the team as one of the contenders in the Western Conference. The LA team is currently seventh on the standings with a 17-18 record and 10.5 games behind the leading Golden State Warriors.