LeBron James pulled another step closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his chase to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Thursday when he scored 26 points in a 112–111 win over the Pacers. The performance left him exactly 62 points off of tying historic mark heading into a weekend matchup against the Pelicans.
Though James theoretically has a chance to catch Abdul-Jabbar in New Orleans on Saturday, the task will be easier said than done. In fact, LeBron would need to set a new single-game career-high in points scored to notch the all-time record.
James’s current career-high for most points scored in a single game is 61, a mark he reached back in March of 2014 when he went off against the Charlotte Bobcats. James, who was at the height of his powers with the Heat at the time, needed 41 minutes and 33 shot attempts to break the 60-point barrier and it remains the only instance in his career in which he’s done so.
The four-time NBA champion has scored 50 points or more 14 times in his career, but only three of those instances have come in the last five years. This season, James hasn’t scored more than 48 points in a single game, a mark which he reached against the Rockets less than a month ago.
As a result, LeBron will be hard-pressed to pass Kareem when he takes the court with the Lakers against the Pelicans on Saturday evening. While it’s hard to doubt just about anything when it comes to one of the game’s all-time greats, a more realistic expectation for James to break the scoring record will come at home against the Thunder next Tuesday or against the Bucks on Thursday, games for which ticket prices have already skyrocketed.