- LeBron James is the third player in NBA history to score at least 35,000 career points.
- The Los Angeles Lakers are just 1-3 since Anthony Davis’ injury.
- The Lakers are still the odds on favorite to win the NBA title but their odds have shortened.
Los Angeles Lakers’ star LeBron James recently became the third member of the NBA’s 35,000 career points club. The Lakers’ superstar reached that milestone during Thursday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
With this free throw, LeBron James becomes the 3rd player in NBA history to reach 35,000 career points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone!
Watch on TNT pic.twitter.com/UWaz1fnqFn
— NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2021
As it stands right now, James needs to score a little more over 3,000 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for first place in that elite list. James is currently averaging 25.9 points per game this season, 11th best in the league.
But he may need to score more points in the coming weeks as the Lakers are short-handed with Anthony Davis out for at least four weeks with tendonosis on his right Achilles.
Lakers 1-3 Since AD Injury
The Heat survive to beat the Lakers: pic.twitter.com/wFa7oCsGHf
— ESPN (@espn) February 21, 2021
With Saturday’s loss to the Heat, the Lakers are 1-3 since AD injury, including the Denver game that he didn’t finish. Los Angeles has now dropped back to back games to the Brooklyn Nets and to Miami. But while they were simply outclassed by the Nets last Thursday, the depleted Lakers rallied from a double-digit and almost stole the game from the Heat.
With the defending champions down by two points with 8.4 seconds left and Miami with ball possession, LeBron James stole the inbounds pass to create one last chance for the Lakers to win. But James passed out of a double-team to a wide open Alex Casruso who missed the game-winning three-point basket.
The Lakers were 15-45 from three-point distance on Saturday night but made just 1 out of their last 13 attempts from deep. They missed five out of their last six baskets and shot just 39% from the field. If they are to stay afloat with Davis out, James will have to show why he’s only the third player to score 35,000 career points in the NBA. L.A.’s king scored just 19 points 7-21 shooting and 1-8 from deep.
LeBron also had five turnovers against Miami on Saturday, increasing his all-time NBA high to 4,535 turnovers. Aside from reaching the 35,000-point milestone, James also recently passed Karl Malone to become the infamous NBA career-leader for turnovers committed.
Lakers’ Championship Odds
.@Lakers lost to the Nets last night.
LeBron MVP odds
▪️ Before: +150
▪️ After: +150
LA title odds
▪️ Before: +250
▪️ After: +250
Odds via @BetMGM
— John Ewing (@johnewing) February 19, 2021
Despite losing to the Nets last Thursday, the Lakers’ championship odds didn’t move at BetMG who still had the champs at +250. Similarly, LeBron’s MVP leading odds didn’t budge at the same sportsbook, even after taking the “L” against Brooklyn.
According to online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, the Lakers are still the +260 odds on favorite to win the 2021 NBA title. But the Nets have closed the gap to +350 after beating LeBron and Co. last Thursday. The Purple and Gold also saw their odds to win the West shorten to +135 with their cross-town rival Clippers closing the gap at +260. Both Los Angeles teams now have identical 22-9 records.
As for LeBron James, the 2020 NBA Finals MVP is still the odds on favorite to win 2021 MVP honors in the best NBA betting sites. Online sports betting site Bet365 still lists James as the +137 betting favorite with Joel Embiid of the Sixers coming in second at +350 and Denver’s Nikola Jokic in third place at +600.
But it’s not about MVP or odds for LeBron and the Lakers. It’s about holding the fort while Davis is out and staying within striking distance of the leaders. The Lakers have dropped to third in the West behind the Jazz and Clippers. They also have a 2.5 games lead over the 4th seeded Suns. For sure, LeBron will add more to his scoring, and turnover totals in the coming weeks. Without Davis, he will need to do more to keep his ship from sinking in the standings.