lebron james
LeBron James - Photo courtesy of Tinseltown on Shutterstock

LeBron James Tuesday is 316 points away from surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s career scoring leader Tuesday after scoring a season-high 48 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 140-132 victory over the Houston Rockets at Crypto.com Arena.

It was the third time in his last seven games that James has scored more than 40 points, including his previous high of 47 on his 38th birthday Dec. 30. He scored more than 30 points two other times during the span.

James scored his final points Monday on two free throws with 6.6 seconds left to give him 20 for the quarter, his most in any quarter this season.

He made 16 of 26 shots, including five of 10 3-point shots, and 11 of 12 free throws. He also had nine assists and eight rebounds.

James has scored 38,072 points in 1,400 games over 20 seasons. Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points in 1,560 games over 20 seasons.

James is seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 29.7 points per game. If he maintains his average and does not miss a game, he would set the record Feb. 7 in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Crypto.com Arena.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Lakers (20-24). They are 13th in the 15-team Western Conference, 1 1/2 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers in the race for the conference’s final spot in the play-in tournament.

The loss was the 11th straight and 16th in 17 games for the Rockets (10-34), who have the NBA’s worst record.

The Lakers led 102-98 entering the fourth quarter after leading 37-35 at the end of the first quarter and 73-61 at halftime in front of a crowd announced at 17,657, 1,340 short of capacity. Houston cut the deficit to two twice, the last time at 133-131 with one minute 11 seconds to play, but James sank a 17-foot pull-up bank shot and two free throws to put the Lakers ahead 137-131 with 40.3 seconds to play.

The Lakers committed a franchise-low two turnovers, the eighth team in NBA history to commit two or fewer turnovers in a game.

The 140 points were a season high in regulation for the Lakers. The Lakers’ 73 points in the first half matched their season high for a half while their 37 points in the first quarter tied their season high for points in the first quarter.

Russell Westbrook added 24 points for the Lakers.

Alperen Sengun led Houston with 33 points.

The Lakers will resume play Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings at Crypto.com Arena.

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