Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James gestures against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half. Picture: Craig Mitchelldyer/AP
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James gestures against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half. Picture: Craig Mitchelldyer/AP

LeBron amazes with history-making night

LEBRON James is one of the greatest players the NBA has seen and on Thursday he took things a step further against the Portland Trail Blazers.

As he helped the Los Angeles Lakers claim their fourth straight victory and move to 8-6 for the season, James registered a monster stat line of 44 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Lakers prevailed 126-117.

Entering the contest, the man known as "The King" found himself only 38 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for fifth spot on the all-time scoring list.

Late in the fourth quarter and sitting on 35 points, James drove into the lane and drew a foul from defender Jake Layman. Converting the shot, he then headed to the free throw line, where he buried the shot and locked up his spot in the top five scorers the game has had.

James sits in outright fifth position with the legend Michael Jordan next up on the list a total of 867 behind the Chicago Bulls master.

"When I'm able to do what I love what I love to do, and do at this level, even being mentioned with the greatest to have every played this game, it just always brings me back to my hometown of Akron," James said post-game.

"Knowing where I come from, knowing how hard it was to get to this point. And just never being in 'satisfied' mode."

The Lakers now sit seventh in the Western Conference with the same record (8-6) as the Sacramento Kings.

"It's still a process for us, and we want to try get better every day," James said.

"I believe we've done that since the start of training camp.

"We've gotten from September to October, and now we're in November, and we've gotten better throughout these first two and a half months. So we want to try and continue that."

James scored 28 points in the second half fell just short of the 75th triple-double of his career during his most impressive performance since joining the Lakers in the off-season.

Five of the top six scorers in NBA history suited up for the Lakers, and James reached his latest milestone during a dominant performance that had chants of "M-V-P!" raining down from the Staples Center crowd.

The Lakers now head off on a three-game Eastern Conference road trip that includes a game against the Cavaliers in a return to Cleveland for James.

WITHOUT JIMMY, WOLVES ARE JUST FINE

The Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns, left, drives on New Orleans Pelicans' Julius Randle during the first half. Picture: Jim Mone/AP
The Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns, left, drives on New Orleans Pelicans' Julius Randle during the first half. Picture: Jim Mone/AP

Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are the main men in Minnesota again, and on Wednesday night they gave the Timberwolves exactly what they needed for a big win.

Towns had 25 points and 16 rebounds, Wiggins scored 23 and Minnesota improved to 2-0 since trading Jimmy Butler with a 107-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

"We were just playing together," Towns said.

"We did a great job getting the ball around, getting everyone involved. It was just about having fun and playing with love and enthusiasm."

Wiggins, who helped put the game away with an electrifying dunk in the final two minutes, acknowledged Butler's contributions, but also seemed to accept the higher expectations as the Wolves move forward without him.

"Whoever's on the floor has to step it up," Wiggins said.

"When Jimmy was here, Jimmy was a good player - that's proven. Now it's up to us to close out games."

E'Twaun Moore scored a season-high 31 and Anthony Davis had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who fell behind by 21 early in the second quarter.

It was exactly what Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau had in mind as he envisioned his two former No.1 picks leading the Wolves into the future.

"Those are tough plays. Those are winning plays," Thibodeau said.

"I want them to continue to grow. There's a challenge for them to continue to get better. We talked about, one game doesn't mean you have it all figured out. Just come in tomorrow, be hungry to improve, and then be ready to play."

- with AP

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