James closes in on scoring record, Lakers rally past Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LeBron James had 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and pulled within 63 points of becoming the NBA's career scoring champ as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 112-111 on Thursday night.
James gave Los Angeles its first lead on a 3-pointer with 2:35 left in the game, and Anthony Davis' 11-footer with 35.1 seconds left was the decisive basket. Davis finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds.
Aaron Nesmith scored a career-high 24 points, newly minted All-Star Tyrese Haliburton added 26 points and 12 assists in his first game in three weeks and Myles Turner had 20 points and 13 rebounds after signing a two-year contract extension Monday. But when Buddy Hield's 17-foot jumper clanked off the rim in the closing seconds, Indiana lost its fourth in a row.
One of Indiana's largest crowds of the season cheered James' warmly throughout the fourth quarter, roaring loudly each time he scored as Indiana again found itself at the forefront of a league-changing pursuit.
It was here in May 2021 that Russell Westbrook recorded his 181st career triple-double to tie Oscar Robertson's career mark. And it was here in December 2021 that Stephen Curry made five 3-pointers to pull within one of matching Ray Allen's career mark of 2,973.
On Thursday, James became the second player in league history to top the 38,300-point mark and left town with 38,325. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hold the NBA’s scoring record with 38,387 points.
For most of the night, it looked as if Indiana would pull away, thanks to its speed. The Pacers led by double digits most of the first three quarters and led 98-84 early in the fourth.
But the Lakers took advantage of Indiana's late fouls and the heroics of James and Davis down the stretch to come all the way back.
Lakers: James and Davis combined for 28 points in the first half, while the other seven players who saw action had 26. ... Los Angeles was 6 of 22 on 3s. ... The Lakers have won three straight at Indiana.
Pacers: Nesmith also had a a career high five 3s. ... T.J. McConnell had 11 points off the bench. ... Indiana has lost 10 of 11.
A few moments before the Pacers public address announcer told the crowd that Haliburton was returning to the starting lineup, Shaquille O'Neal announced Haliburton had been named a reserve on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The video, from TNT's pregame coverage, was then replayed on the arena's large video board as the crowd roared and teammates congratulated the first-time All-Star.
Lakers: Close out a five-game trip Saturday at New Orleans.
Pacers: Host Sacramento on Friday.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Michael Marot, The Associated Press