LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James enters Monday evening's game against the Houston Rockets at Crypto.com Arena needing 364 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and become the NBA's career scoring leader.
James scored a game-high equaling 35 points in the Lakers' 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night at Crypto.com Arena and became the second player in NBA history to reach 38,000 career points.
James surpassed the 38,000-point mark with five minutes, 43 seconds left in the first quarter when he made a 20-foot jump shot, increasing his game total to 12 and career total to 38,001.
James has scored 38,024 points in 1,399 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 29.2 points per game. If he maintains his average and does not miss a game, he would set the record Feb. 9 in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Crypto.com Arena.
The Lakers (19-24) have lost three consecutive games following a season-high five-game winning streak. They are 13th in the 15-team Western Conference, 1 1/2 games behind the Utah Jazz in the race for the conference's final spot in the play-in tournament.
Monday's game will be the Lakers' first against Houston this season. The Rockets (10-33) have the NBA's worst record and have lost 10 consecutive games and 15 of their last 16, including a 121-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday at Crypto.com Arena where they were outscored 30-10 in the fourth quarter.
The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised by Spectrum SportsNet.
The Lakers trailed 33-32 at the end of the first quarter, led 58-57 at halftime and trailed 86-83 after three quarters Sunday in a game with 23 lead changes and 18 ties.
The Lakers took their last lead, 109-108, with 1:42 left on Dennis Schroder's 8-foot floating shot. Philadelphia took the lead for good with 1:27 to play on Georges Niang's 3-point basket. The 76ers increased their lead to 113-109 with 45.7 seconds remaining on Joel Embiid's 13-foot jump shot.
The Lakers cut the deficit to 113-112 with 37.1 seconds left on Troy Brown Jr.'s 3-point basket off James' assist in front of a crowd announced at 18,020, 977 short of a sellout.
Embiid missed a 15-foot fadeaway shot on the ensuing possession, but Russell Westbrook's potential game-winning layup with 3.1 seconds to play was blocked by Niang and Embiid grabbed the rebound.
Embiid also scored 35 while James Harden added 24 as Philadelphia (27- 16) won for the seventh time in nine games.
James made 15 of 23 shots, including one of five 3-point shots, and four of five free throws. He had 10 assists. The Lakers outscored the 76ers by 19 points in the 35:18 James was on the court, the game's best plus-minus figure.
Westbrook scored 20 points and had 14 rebounds and 11 assists, both team highs.