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James passes Malone but Lakers blow lead

LeBron James has passed Karl Malone for second place on the NBA’s career scoring list, but it arrived in another loss for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Washington Wizards rallied from a 16-point deficit to win 127-119 on Saturday night.

James scored 38 points while Russell Westbrook added 22 in his return to Washington, but the Lakers’ small line-ups couldn’t stop the 221cm Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 16 of his 27 points in the final quarter.

Porzingis connected on a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left to put the Wizards up by six, and James couldn’t answer at the other end.

Washington outscored the Lakers 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

James now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time points list in the NBA.

He entered the game 19 points behind Malone’s total of 36,928.

After a six-point first quarter, James went on a scoring binge in the second that included a dunk and three 3-pointers.

The last of those 3s brought him even with Malone. Then he made a lay-up off a backdoor cut with 5:20 left in the quarter to move ahead.

Moments later, as Washington’s Tomas Satoransky prepared to shoot free throws, James’ accomplishment was put up on the video screen, and the crowd in Washington gave him a standing ovation.

Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points in his career. James has a chance to break that record next season if he’s healthy enough.

For much of the night, it looked as if this latest milestone would come in a victory, but the Lakers still haven’t won back-to-back games since a four-game winning streak ended in early January.

The Wizards (30-40) snapped a six-game skid and while they have a better record than the Lakers (30-41) they are outside the play-in tournament spots in the eastern conference while their vanquished opponents are ninth in the west.

The Minnesota Timberwolves won for the 10th time in 11 games by rolling past the Milwaukee Bucks 139-119.

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out the game for Milwaukee because of soreness in his right knee with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards both netting 25 points apiece for the T’Wolves.

Elsewhere the Charlotte Hornets routed the road-weary Dallas Mavericks 129-108 while the Cleveland Cavaliers surived a 40-point assault from Jerami Grant to beat the Detroit Pistons 113-109.

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