The Los Angeles Lakers lost against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night, a small blemish on what was still a historic night for LeBron James. The new Lakers star dropped 35 points on 13-21 shooting, fittingly continuing his characteristic efficiency while moving into sixth all-time in scoring and seventh all-time in made field goals in NBA history.
James passed Dirk Nowitzki (31,187 career points) and but still has a ways to go to catch Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points) for fifth all-time. James passed up a former Lakers star in Shaquille O’Neal to move up on the list of most made field goals, and is now in range of another one in Kobe Bryant, who ranks sixth all-time in the category with 11,719 made shots.
As noted above, James has been an incredibly efficient player for his basically his entire career, and it’s a testament to his well-roundedness and mastery of the game that he is moving up to sixth all-time in scoring on the same night he moved into seventh all-time in made field goals. That is a testament to his ability to both draw free-throws (9,324 attempts, which ranks sixth all-time) and make them (6,894 made free-throws, ninth all-time).
James has also never been a guy that could be accused of gunning. He knows which shots are efficient, and which he’s going to be able to make, and shows a selectiveness about not taking less make-able shots that has been rare in NBA superstars throughout league history.
That selectiveness — like everything else in James’ career — has been an endless source of debate for fans and the media alike, but it certainly seems to have paid off for James given the historic heights he’s reached, with even more achievements in sight.
All stats via Basketball-Reference. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.