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LeBron welcomes back AD, keeps chasing Kareem

LeBron James scored 20 points and nearly had a triple-double, while Anthony Davis returned in style as the Lakers took down the Spurs.

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LeBron James is getting closer.

James entered Wednesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs needing just 178 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. While he didn’t put up the performance he did on Tuesday night, James still chipped away at that number in a solid win over the San Antonio Spurs.

James finished with 20 points and nearly had a triple-double while leading the Lakers to a 113-104 win at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. He finished with 11 assists and nine rebounds while shooting 8-of-20 from the field, too.

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James is now just 158 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time mark.

Anthony Davis returned for the Lakers on Wednesday night, too, after he missed 20 games with a foot injury. He had 21 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench. New forward Rui Hachimura also made his debut after he was dealt from the Washington Wizards earlier this week. Hachimura finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

Though he’s still at least a handful of games away, James has to know he’s getting close to the mark. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, however, doesn’t think that’s a big deal to him.

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“I think I know him enough to know he understands what is going on,” Popovich said before the game, via the San Antonio Express News’ Tom Orsborn. “I understood what was going on with the wins and that sort of thing, but we really don’t give a s**t to be honest with you.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is rapidly approaching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. (AP/Mark J. Terrill)

LeBron James breaking scoring record is just a matter of time

James is rapidly closing in on the scoring record, and he’s still playing incredible basketball while doing it.

James is averaging 30.2 points through 38 games this season, which would be the third-best scoring output over his two-decade run in the league. He put up 46 points on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, too. That was the last team he needed to have officially had a 40-point game against all 30 NBA teams, something nobody has done before.

James averaged 20.9 points per game as a rookie and hasn’t dipped below that pace since. He’s on pace to break Abdul-Jabbar’s record in 100-plus fewer games played than his fellow Lakers great. Abdul-Jabbar reached his tally of 38,387 points in 1,560 games; the Lakers’ game against the Spurs was the 1,405th of James’ career.

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The pace has James on track to pass Abdul-Jabbar in February. Here’s the upcoming slate of Lakers games as James pursues one of the last great milestones of his basketball career.

Saturday: at Boston Celtics, 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

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Jan. 30: at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBA TV)

Jan. 31: at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Feb. 2: at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

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Feb. 4: at New Orleans Pelicans, 8 p.m. ET

Feb. 7: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 10:30 p.m. ET

Feb. 9: vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 10 p.m. ET (TNT)

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Feb. 11: at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Feb. 13: at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET

Feb. 15: vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)

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