LeBron James is closing in.
The Los Angeles Lakers star entered Tuesday needing 224 points to surpass Kareem-Abdul Jabbar as the NBA's all-time scoring leader. He's that much closer after a 46-point effort in a 133-115 loss to the LA Clippers.
Even in a losing effort, James gave fans their money's worth. In addition to that scoring output, he posted 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers and 0 personal fouls in 32 minutes. He shot 9-of-14 from deep, a career high for 3-pointers made in a single game.
The final score wasn't close, but James led a run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 10 before the Clippers firmly took back control.
Breaking 40 points against the Clippers also completed James' collection of 40-point games against all 30 NBA teams, an unprecedented feat. Three other players have scored 40 against 29 teams: Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kobe Bryant, who never played against the Lakers.
LeBron James breaking scoring record is just a matter of time
James isn't pursuing the record on the late-stage fumes of his remarkable career. Far from it. His 29.8-point scoring average through 37 games would stand as the fourth-highest scoring rate of his 20 NBA seasons.
James averaged 20.9 points per game as a rookie and hasn't dipped below that pace since. He's on pace to break Abdul-Jabbar's record in 100-plus fewer games played than his fellow Lakers great. Abdul-Jabbar reached his tally of 38,387 points in 1,560 games; the Lakers' game against the Clippers was the 1,404th of James' career.
The pace has James on track to pass Abdul-Jabbar in February. Here's the upcoming slate of Lakers games as James pursues one of the last great milestones of his basketball career.
Feb. 15: vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)