LeBron is on track to break scoring record vs OKC Thunder

With history looming for Lakers forward LeBron James (6) could the OKC Thunder end up as benefactors of the historic event? : Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
With history looming for Lakers forward LeBron James (6) could the OKC Thunder end up as benefactors of the historic event? : Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Ticket prices have soared as LeBron James inches closer to becoming the all-time NBA leading scorer with the Lakers set to reap those benefits. As TI suggested the league ended up shifting the TV schedule and will air the OKC Thunder match on TNT Tuesday and already had the Thursday match set up.

To begin the week LeBron was 117 points away from catching and surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who has sat atop the points ladder for close to four decades with 38,387.

James suggested he wasn’t really paying attention to the specific number or attempting to coordinate the timing for when history occurs. It would be naive to believe LeBron isn’t performing the math in his head with each made bucket.

This is the same player who notoriously did a play-by-play breakdown in a post-game playoff presser leaving journalists slack-jawed. Trust me – – he knows.

 OKC Thunder may have front row seat to LeBron James’ history-making moment

Both media and fans are coveting the Bucks game for the ‘moment’ to occur and have suggested this preference would be aggressively sought after. The not-too-subtle suggestion was James would sit out one of the games leading up to Thursday.

That was an insult to LBJ who no doubt would love the serendipity of playing Abdul-Jabbar’s drafting Bucks on the Crypto.com court when he sets the record. But, with the Lakers sitting outside the play-in tournament seeds he’s much more invested in winning to first get into that play-in tier and ideally move up to the upper safe playoff seed tier.

With the Lakers’ loss Saturday, it erases that premise for Tuesday because LA needs every win they can get having fallen to 13th overall. And guess who sits right in front of them? Exactly – the OKC Thunder so LeBron will NOT arbitrarily sit on Tuesday with the hope his teammates can win and that he can score 36 on Thursday.

Ticket prices are soaring to witness the moment live

Understandably, with a once-in-a-lifetime event of this nature. the price to be among those who witness it live is expensive. Even to be on hand for the prior games as he shaved down the total points required is proving costly.

Case in point, tickets for the Pacers and Pelicans games increased by 25 and 28 percent while the real costly purchase is the OKC Thunder or Milwaukee Bucks tickets in LA.

The pricier tickets are the Bucks up 160 percent but the Thunder are the tickets that drew the larger percentage increase of 357 percent. Again, that’s logically pinpointing Tuesday’s game as the most likely game history is made. Particularly because LeBron did precisely what I suggested and played in New Orleans on Saturday.

Magic number is 36

Against the Pelicans, James scored 26 points lowering the magic number to 36. On the season James is averaging 30.0 points per game on the nose.

While his average is six points lower than what he needs, it’s very reasonable to assume he can hit the milestone on Tuesday.

Don’t forget the Thunder will be playing on Monday night meaning they’ll be fatigued and tired legs show up with shooting but also on defense.

Ultimately, LeBron James is keenly aware of how monumental this moment in sports history will be and I’d bet he already has mapped out in his head how he wants the moment to go down.

Many believe the desire is to accomplish the goal against the Bucks on Thursday – – but something in my gut tells me he’d prefer to do it versus the OKC Thunder on Tuesday.  My reason is this isn’t going to be a simple overhead video board acknowledgment – there will be pomp and circumstance surrounding this milestone.

The question is when will they do that celebration:

  • in that exact moment?  shut down the game to have a brief celebration?
  • at the first major break – following a quarter, half time or game end
  • or the game after the accomplishment

LA hits the road after the Bucks game so if it’s the latter, it would mean waiting six days (February 15th). That scenario seems completely unlikely because it would take away from the swell of emotions that will occur at the moment. It’s still a possibility because we’re just assuming he’ll score 36 points between Tuesday and Thursday but that’s not a given.

Doing anything more than a brief celebration at a break is going to impact the game itself and again the Lakers need wins so that’s not ideal.

Imagine if LeBron breaks the record but it occurs as they are on a run cutting into a deficit or on a major scoring run and they stop the game or pause the game at the next break for this lengthy celebration. Any long breaks impact game flow – and the problem is they don’t always favor you/your team.

Again, I just think in LeBron’s head he’ll want to set the record against the Thunder and then open the game against the Bucks with the ceremony. It’ll be a little bit of a salt rub for Milwaukee who drafted Abdul-Jabbar but more importantly it won’t risk the Lakers losing and having LeBron try to be happy about yet another loss while he smiles through a ceremony.

Nope – set the record against the OKC Thunder, do a quick bit similar to what they did at MSG when Steph Curry broke the 3-point record. Then open the Bucks game with the ceremony, let LeBron and Laker Nation revel in the moment.

Think how amped up LeBron and the Lakers can get the crowd if they do the celebration before tip on Thursday and the Bucks have to sit there while it’s going on.

Okay — let’s cut to the chase and be real. Thursday is the trade deadline. If LeBron sets the record on Thursday night versus the Bucks he’ll have to share his greatest individual moment in a 20-year career with all the trades that happened on Thursday.

Whereas if he sets the record Tuesday, there will still be trade talk – – but there is a big difference between doing a segment on potential trades that could happen versus constant segments on all the deals that DID happen. He’d be fighting for air time with all those deals whereas if he sets the record Tuesday he’ll be the news story with potential deals offering the filler segments.

Of course, it’s all a moot point, because he has to score those 36 points first. And that my friends is the biggest takeaway. LeBron James is such an otherworldly talent I just wrote 1100+ words on how he’s going to become the NBA’s all-time leader scorer on Tuesday – because he’ll simply decide to do it that day.

Then again, when you’re playing at 38 like most players dream of playing in their prime perhaps it’s understandable. So I’m committing to my gut and the power of the King…

LeBron James will set the all-time points scoring record on Tuesday night at Crypto.com arena during the game versus the OKC Thunder.

Next. A cautionary tale for the OKC Thunder and developing teams. dark