LeBron James scoring tracker: The race to pass Abdul-Jabbar's NBA points record

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James started the 2022-23 season with 37,062 points, just 1,325 shy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record.

Averaging 29.7 points this season, James closed in on Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points, making a furious push in the past seven weeks – despite missing three games since Dec. 18 – with 15 games of at least 30 points, including three 40-plus point games, topped off by 48 points against Houston on Jan. 16.

At his scoring rate, James was on target to pass Abdul-Jabbar and become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in early February, and that's what he did Tuesday against Oklahoma City.

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LeBron James exults after scoring on a fadeaway jumper to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
LeBron James exults after scoring on a fadeaway jumper to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

Let’s take a look at James’ progress:

vs. Oklahoma City, 38,390 career points

Feb. 7: James passed Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's all-time leading scorer with his 35th and 36th points in the third quarter. He finished with 38 points on 13-for-20 shooting, including 4-for-6 on 3s, and 8-for-10 on free throws. He scored 16 points in the third quarter.

James had 12 points in the second quarter, punctuated by back-to-back and-1s for a quick six points. He added a 3-pointer and went into halftime with 20 points.

James missed his first two shots of the game and made a 3-pointer on his third attempt at 7:05 of the first quarter. He took a Josh Giddey elbow to the eye on a driving layup but remained in the game. A few minutes later, he checked out of the game and finished the first quarter with eight points.

Points shy of breaking record: 0

at New Orleans, 38,352 career points

Feb. 4: James is getting closer, perhaps a game or two away from setting the all-time scoring record. He had 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Anthony Davis had 34 points and 14 rebounds. But it wasn't enough in the Lakers’ 131-126 loss against the Pelicans, who were led by Brandon Ingram's 35 points.

Points shy: 35

at Indiana, 38,325 career points

Feb. 2: James had 26 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in the Lakers’ 112-111 come-from-behind victory against the Pacers. James, who scored 15 points in the second half, was 11-for-19 from the field and 2-for-5 on 3-pointers, and Anthony Davis had a game-high 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers.

Points shy: 62

at New York, 38,299 career points

Jan. 31: James had 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in the Lakers’ 129-123 overtime victory against the Knicks. After missing Monday’s game against Brooklyn with left ankle soreness, James came back with his 106th career triple-double, one behind Jason Kidd for fourth all-time. While the scoring record is the focus, James also moved into fourth place on the all-time assists list, passing Mark Jackson and Steve Nash. Just Chris Paul, Kidd and John Stockton are ahead of James.

Points shy: 88

at Boston, 38,271 career points

Jan. 28: James enjoys playing in Boston, but his 41-point effort against the Celtics wasn't enough as the Lakers lost 125-121 in overtime. James also had nine rebounds and eight assists and was fouled on a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds. The officials, who did not call a foul, later admitted they missed the call.

Points shy: 116

vs. San Antonio, 38,230 career points

Jan. 25: James' 20-point night tied for his third-lowest scoring game this season. One night after hitting a career-high nine 3-pointers, James went just 1-for-6 from deep, part of an 8-for-20 showing from the field overall. James – who did nearly have a triple-double (nine rebounds, 11 assists) – and the Lakers got a boost off the bench from the return of Anthony Davis (21 points) and new addition Rui Hachimura (12 points) as they earned a 113-104 win over the Spurs. 

Points shy: 157

vs. L.A. Clippers, 38,210 career points

Jan. 24: James went off again, scoring 46 points thanks in part to a career-high nine made 3-pointers (on 14 attempts). Per ESPN Stats & Info, James, who had 28 points in the secnd half, is the first player in NBA history to record a 40-point game against all 30 teams. Unfortunately for James and the Lakers, the Clippers once again got the victory, 133-115. The Clippers have won 10 in a row against their in-arena rivals.

Points shy: 177

at Portland, 38,164 career points

Jan. 22: James dropped 37 points on the Blazers as the Lakers overcame a 25-point halftime deficit for a 121-112 victory. Since James turned 38 on Dec. 30, he is averaging 35.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 7.9 assists and is shooting 53% from the field.

Points shy: 223

vs. Memphis, 38,127 career points

Jan. 20: James scored 23 points in the Lakers' eventful and dramatic 122-121 victory over the Grizzlies, who entered riding an 11-game winning streak. 

vs. Sacramento, 38,104 career points

Jan. 18: James had 32 points but it was in a 116-111 loss to the Kings. James played 36 minutes, and after the game, Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he needed to find a way to reduce James’ minutes and get him some rest.

vs. Houston, 38,072 career points

Jan. 16: James scored a season-high 48 points in the Lakers’ 140-132 victory. In another efficient performance, James was 16-for-26 from the field, 5-for-10 on 3-pointers and 11-for-12 from the free throw line.

vs. Philadelphia 38,024 career points

Jan. 15: James passed the 38,000-point mark with 35 points in a 113-112 loss to the Sixers. He made 15-of-23 shots and 14-of-18 free throws, but it wasn’t enough to stop Philadelphia.

vs. Dallas, 37,989 career points

Jan. 12: In a showdown against the Mavs and Luka Doncic, James scored just 24 points and was not efficient, shooting 9-for-28 from the field and 0-for-7 on 3s in Dallas’ 119-115 double-overtime victory.

at Sacramento, 37,965 career points

Jan. 7: Back in the city where James played his first game – in Sacramento playing for Cleveland – James had 37 points in the Lakers’ 136-134 victory.

Follow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeBron points tracker: How James passed Kareem's record