LOS ANGELES (AP) — To LeBron James, triple-doubles are not a goal.
They are only a side effect of the consistent, brilliant all-around play he has been dishing out for 17 NBA seasons, with no slowdown in sight.
Triple-doubles also don’t mean much to LeBron without wins attached to them, so James was pleased when his latest statistical superlative occurred during yet another successful night for the surging Los Angeles Lakers.
James became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double against every team in the league, and Anthony Davis scored 34 points during the Lakers’ fifth straight victory, 112-107 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
James finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to post a triple-double against his 30th opponent for the NBA-leading Lakers, who have won 12 of 13 after a perfect four-game homestand. James was more surprised than thrilled by his latest statistical achievement, particularly while a different statistic glared at him from the box score.
“Coach (Frank) Vogel came in here and said, ‘Congratulations,’ and I thought he was joking about my seven turnovers,” James said. “I really don’t know what to think about it. I just think it’s a pretty cool stat to know, and I’m glad it happened in a win.”
James has five triple-doubles in the Lakers’ last 10 games, getting four in victories. There’s a reason for this spree: Although James has constantly filled the stat sheet since he joined the league in 2003, he is leading the NBA this season with 11.1 assists per game, nearly four more than his career average. He has at least 10 assists in six consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.
Vogel has put the ball in James’ hands constantly on offense, and his playmaking acumen has grown along with his chemistry with Davis, as they demonstrated repeatedly against the Thunder. Seven of LeBron’s assists came on baskets by Davis.
“Amazing,” Davis said. “To be able to do that against every team is something special. I mean, (it’s) trippy that he’s been playing for a long time, so it was a matter of time before it happened, but just a tribute to all his hard work.”
James is fifth in NBA history with 86 triple-doubles, but the four players in front of him — Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, Lakers great Magic Johnson and Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd — hadn’t done it against 30 teams. Kidd, who did it against 28 teams, has served as a role model for James’ efforts as a tall point guard.