Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James recently became the first NBA player to reach 39,000 points.
He's set to return to the city where his NBA career began when the Lakers visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
"I haven't had an opportunity to really wrap my head around what that means," James said of the milestone. "There's been so many great players that came across this league since the beginning of time and so many great scorers. To be able to accomplish something that's the first of anything, I think that's always pretty cool. It's a wild moment, that's for sure."
James remains more focused on getting Los Angeles back into the playoffs.
The Lakers went 4-0 in group play of the NBA in-season tournament to advance to next week's quarterfinals, but are just 5-7 in the rest of their games.
Los Angeles most recently took on the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and trailed by 20 points entering the fourth quarter before a James basket gave the Lakers a lead with 1:16 remaining. But they didn't score again as the Mavericks finished off a 104-101 victory.
"We don't believe in moral victories around here," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. "As I said before starting last year, it's not just wins and losses, there's wisdom and lessons. We got a lesson (on Wednesday). The way we buckled down in the fourth quarter and fought back and gave ourselves a chance. That's what you draw from that game. That's the lesson you draw from it."
The Cavaliers strung together four straight wins before getting blown out by the Miami Heat in the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday.
Cleveland trailed by 22 points entering the fourth quarter and couldn't put a dent in the lead before losing 129-96.
Kevin Love was scheduled to make his long-awaited return to Cleveland, but ended up staying back in Miami because of personal reasons. The Heat also excelled despite the absences of shooting guard Tyler Herro (ankle) and All-Star center Bam Adebayo (hip contusion).
"That wasn't us," Cleveland forward Georges Niang said of Wednesday's performance. "From an effort and execution standpoint, that wasn't us. Take some time (Thursday) to get away from the game and be thankful for everything we have, allow everyone to be with their families and then get back to the drawing board and work on continuing to play good basketball like we were previous to (Wednesday) night."
The Cavaliers are hoping to get leading scorer Donovan Mitchell back against the Lakers. Mitchell has missed the past four games with a hamstring injury, but he practiced on Friday. The team listed him as questionable for the Lakers game.
Entering Friday, Mitchell ranked eighth in the NBA in scoring at 29.2 points a game.
Isaac Okoro also returned to practice on Friday after the small forward missed nine games with a knee injury, and he is questionable for Saturday as well. Okoro averaged 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds through the first six games.
Craig Porter Jr. moved into the starting lineup for the first time this season on Wednesday and coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he'll remain part of the rotation when Mitchell and Okoro return.
The Lakers will be without Rui Hachimura for at least one week after he underwent surgery to repair a broken nose, multiple reports said Friday. Hachimura has averaged 11.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12 games (one start) this season.
--Field Level Media
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