James scored 46 points in a losing cause, but in the process made history by becoming the first player in the league to score 40 points against every franchise.
The 38-year-old finished the night with nine three-pointers — the first player age 35 or older to hit nine or more threes in a game.
“I’ve put a lot of work into it and I was able to make some shots tonight,” James told reporters. “The Clippers, when they shoot the three ball they’re really good — exceptionally good.”
The Clippers made 19 three-pointers during Tuesday’s game, including three by Paul George, who scored a team-high 27 points, and four each from Terrence Mann, Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson.
Kawhi Leonard, meanwhile, had 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
James brought his all-time points tally to 38,210, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387. Averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James is expected to hit a six-game hitting streak on Feb. 2 against the Indiana Pacers.
“I never thought I could catch Kareem in hitting, it was never in my mind,” he said.
“I think as it gets closer and closer, I’ll start to feel it more and more … I’ve gotten to this point by not thinking about it or being in the moment, just trying to play the game right. way.”
Behind James, Russell Westbrook scored 17 points as the Lakers lost their 10th straight against the Clippers – a streak that stretches back to July 2020.
Trailing by 23 points at halftime, the Lakers have no chance of getting back into the game and now fall to 13th in the Western Conference standings and have lost five of their last eight.
They next play the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, while the Clippers — on a three-straight winning streak — play the Spurs on Friday.
With a season average of 30.2 points per game, James could surpass Abdul Jabbar’s 34-year-old NBA scoring record on Feb. 2 against the Pacers. Here are the Lakers upcoming games:
- Jan. 25 vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Jan. 28 at Boston Celtics
- Jan. 30 at Brooklyn Nets
- January 31 at the New York Knicks
- Feb. 2 at Indiana Pacers*
- Feb. 4 at New Orleans Pelicans
- Feb. 7 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- Feb. 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks