NY — Lebron James he will soon be the leading scorer in the NBA, although that was never his goal.

He’s also one of the top passers in the game, and combining the two, arguably better than anyone, is what really does him proud.

“I didn’t get to this point in my career thinking about records or how many points I have, whatever the case may be,” James said. “I just play the game the right way. I approach the game every night just trying to be a triple threat by scoring, rebounding, assisting, defending and getting the chips where they can.”

James came within 89 points of breaking his career scoring high and moved up to fourth on the assists list, finishing with his first triple-double of the season in his return to Madison Square Garden as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Yorkers. York Knicks 129-123 in overtime Tuesday night.

James had 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, with the points giving him 38,299 for his career. Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the leader with 38,387.

But James’ game has always been about more than just scoring, as he proved again Tuesday. the food dennis schroeder for a 118-1 tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:13 remaining, grabbed his 10th rebound later in the overtime, then connected to the basket for a 127-121 lead with 19 seconds to go.

“He’s just doing everything,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “That’s what great players do. That’s what all-time greats do, and he’s at the top of the list with all of them.”

James had passed Mark Jackson and then Steve Nash to fourth on the assists list during his first game at Madison Square Garden in three years. James is the fifth player in the shot clock era to rank in the top five in points and assists at the same time, joining Bob Cousy, Dolph Schayes, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.

His first triple-double of the season was the 106th of his career, one shy of tying Jason Kidd for fourth all-time, though he passed Kidd for the most seasons with a triple-double. James became the fourth-oldest player in NBA history with a triple-double and the oldest with a 20-point triple-double.

antonio davis he had 27 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who had lost two in a row to open their road trip. Both James and Davis had sat out Monday’s loss in Brooklyn.

jalen brunson scored 37 points and Julius Randle he had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who were 7-for-34 from 3-point range and fell for the second straight time.

“We’re scoring a lot; that’s not our problem,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So we have to strengthen our defense.”

James was furious after his last game, the Lakers’ overtime loss in Boston on Saturday, after which officials said they missed a foul on his rim shot to end regulation.

He then sat out Monday with what Ham said was soreness in his left foot, though the Lakers had listed the injury as an ankle. They listed him as questionable to play in the morning, then upgraded James to available after he moved well during a pregame workout.

He certainly didn’t want to miss this one after getting hurt two years ago and serving a one-game suspension last season for hitting Detroit. isaiah stewart in the face. His last game here was on January 1. On January 22, 2000, when he was days away from passing Kobe Bryant for third on his career scoring list.

Now the only one left to catch is Abdul-Jabbar, which could happen in the next 10 days. James said that getting closer doesn’t make him feel heavier.

“I’m not going anywhere; I’ll be in this league for at least a few more years,” he said. “So I’m going to do it, so it’s not heavy at all.”

The game was tied at 90 before James fed Troy Brown Jr.. for a triple with his eighth assist, then set up Thomas Bryant for a dunk, putting him ahead of Jackson and then Nash for fourth in assists. James has 10,338 assists.

James has always said that MSG is one of his favorite places to play, and this visit drew a sellout crowd that included celebrities like Michael J. Fox, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Stone and Chris Rock. Fans packed seats in the lower sections of the arena just to watch James warm up, but he had trouble giving them one of his classic performances once the game began.

He airballed in the second quarter as part of his 2-of-8 start, but made his last two shots of the half, then threw a pass that Schroder threw from half court to beat the buzzer and cut it to 53-52. . at half time

recently purchased rui hachimura had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, while russell westbrook added 17 points and eight assists, with three of them in overtime.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

By sbavh

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