LeBron James continues to topple individual records as the season progresses but is unable to help the Los Angeles Lakers win yet again as they succumbed to the Denver Nuggets 115-99 at the Staples Center on Wednesday night, which all but ended their hopes of making the playoffs. He surpassed Michael Jordan to move into fourth place in the all-time scoring list.
James has achieved numerous records during his career; he is the youngest player in NBA history to reach 10, 20 and 30,000 points – but despite dominating the scoring charts after joining the Lakers, their hiatus from the post-season playoffs looks likely to continue.
At the start of the campaign – at least until December – it looked like the arrival of James had changed their fortunes as they were 4th in the Western Conference, with a great chance of making the post-season. The three-time NBA champion then suffered a groin injury that saw him miss 18 games.
The young Lakers team went 6-12 during his absence and dropped to the 9th place on the table – one position outside the playoff places. Their fortunes have not improved since James returned as they are now in 10th – six games behind 8th place Los Angeles Clippers with 17 games to go in the regular season.
Their loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday was the fourth on the trot and their sixth in the last seven after the All-Star break. Their only win came against the New Orleans Pelicans when Anthony Davis did not play the fourth quarter.
The Lakers’ capitulation against the Denver franchise began in the first quarter when they were outscored 25-43. They then mounted a comeback and by the end of the third quarter they were trailing by just 8 points.
It got better early in the fourth quarter when they reduced the deficit to just two points with James and co in the ascendency. But the Nuggets, who have the second best record in the West – only behind the Golden State Warriors, stepped up a notch and went on a 26-12 run to ensure a comfortable 16-point victory.