James went for 27 gutty points in his team’s win over the Miami Heat on Friday, and the Cavaliers star moved into ninth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list as a result. With his final two baskets, James moved past former low post legend Elvin Hayes with 27,315 career points:
James’ 27 was second on the Cavaliers to Kevin Love’s 28-point, 15-rebound night, as the Cavs moved to 16-5 despite being without J.R. Smith due to injury, and Channing Frye (who missed the contest due to attend his father’s funeral).
The move marked the second time this season James passed a Hall of Famer on the NBA’s all-time list. In early November the Cavs’ reigning Finals MVP also passed Hakeem Olajuwon for tenth on the list.
He likely isn’t finished. LBJ needs 94 points to top the late Moses Malone and move into eighth place on the all time list. Moses’ not-insignificant 2171 career ABA points are not included.
He’ll need another 1281 points to top Shaquille O’Neal and move into seventh place, a workable feat if James (who is averaging 24 points per game) keeps up the pace over his team’s final 61 games. At his current rate, James will top his former Cleveland teammate in 54 games, though with James’ intelligent batches of rest tossed in here and there, a small chance remains that he’ll need to 2017-18 to top Shaq.
Dirk Nowitzki, working at sixth place with 29,552 career points and hopefully active within the season’s first half after sitting out most of 2016-17 due to a bum right Achilles, appears out of reach for now.
Dirk’s 2007-era prime, however, was celebrated by the Cavs, as they celebrated their Retro Night by dialing the clock back nearly a decade and treating their fans to that favorite meme of George W. Bush’s last years in office: The Rick Roll!