LeBron James, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kemba Walker log key career milestone games
From NBA.com Staff
LeBron James, in the minds of many, is the greatest Cleveland Cavaliers player of all-time. Kemba Walker is in that conversation regarding Charlotte Hornets history. And Karl Anthony-Towns has a ways to go to reach that status in Minnesota Timbewolves lore.
On Wednesday night, though, all three players added to their respective legacies with milestone games.
LeBron ties MJ’s mark
James joined rarefied air with his 41-point, 10-rebound, eight-assist effort in a 118-105 win against the Charlotte Hornets. His empahtic dunk off a lob from JR Smith in the second quarter put him in double-figure scoring, marking the 866th consecutive game James has performed that feat.
The only other player to log that many double-figure scoring games is Hall of Famer and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
Jordan’s streak lasted from March 25, 1986 through Dec. 26, 2001, while playing for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
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Most Consecutive Games With At Least 10 Points
Player | Games | Span
Michael Jordan | 866 | March 1986 to Dec. 2001
LeBron James | 866 | Jan. 2007 to present
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | 787 | Dec. 1977 to Dec. 1987
Karl Malone | 575 | Dec. 1991 to March 1999
Kevin Durant | 562 | March 2009 to Feb. 2017
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“I’ve stayed available, obviously,” James told reporters when asked how the streak was possible. “I haven’t played every game, but for the most part I’ve played over 70 percent of my games throughout that journey, and just going out and just trying to be productive.”
Aside from tying Jordan’s mark in the game, James also added to his place in NBA lore in another department. His fourth-quarter steal of Frank Kaminsky’s pass gave him 1,859 steals in his career, moving James past Kevin Garnett for 17th on that all-time list.
James can break Jordan’s record Friday night when the Cavaliers host the New Orleans Pelicans (8 ET, ESPN).
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Walker adds to his Hornets legacy
The book on Kemba Walker as he entered the 2011 NBA Draft was that of a quick, scoring guard who could excel in a fast-paced system. The No. 9 overall pick of the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) that year, Walker has gone from merely trying to hone his game to a two-time All-Star and go-to guy.
Although his Hornets are more or less out of the playoff chase, Walker remains a relentless force. And while James was busy making history early in last night’s game, Walker wasn’t about to be outdone on his home court.
Not only is he the team’s leading scorer, but he ranks in the Top 10 in several other categories including games played (517), assists (2800), steal (695), field goals made (3411) and attempted (8222). Walker also leads the Hornets in 3-pointers made (1016), 3-pointers attempted (2828) and free throws made (2003) while ranking second in free throw attempts (2405).
After nabbing the Hornets’ all-time scoring mark, an emotional Walker addressed the crowd and talked about his accomplishment. Moments later Walker was being interviewed on the court and broke down, grabbing a towel to wipe away the growing tears streaming down his face.
“It’s super special because of all of the doubt I’ve gotten throughout my career and all of the criticism, but I just continue to prove them wrong,” Walker said.
“It was just pretty emotional. I really wish I would have played better earlier and we would have had a more competitive game but it’s still a huge accomplishment. For my family to be here and all the fans cheering me on like that, especially because we lost, they made it pretty special anyway.”
"All the doubt I've gotten over my career, all the criticism, I stayed steady and kept proving people wrong. It's a huge milestone in my career." – @KembaWalker on becoming the franchise's all-time leading scorer pic.twitter.com/KiMIOpGYCA
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) March 29, 2018
Hornets owner Michael Jordan wasn’t at the game, but weighed in with a statement released through the team.
“I’m really happy for Kemba,” Jordan said. “Becoming a franchise’s all-time leading scorer is a big accomplishment and it’s a testament to his hard work, dedication and passion for the game of basketball. He exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet. His effort, leadership and commitment to our team and the City of Charlotte is second to none. I’m proud to have him on our team.”
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Towns joins 50-point club
As for Towns, he did something Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Stephon Marbury or any other Wolves great had done before. The All-Star big man terrorized the Atlanta Hawks in a 126-114 win, dropping a team-record 56 points. Towns shot 19 of 32 from the field and 12 of 15 from the free throw line, dropping in 30 points and 11 rebounds in the second half.
He set the mark with a corner 3-pointer with 1 minute, 16 seconds left in the game. That gave him 54 points, breaking the single-game mark of 52 set by Mo Williams on Jan. 13, 2015. Towns later added a pair of free throws in the game’s waning moments to reach the 56-point mark.
Per Elias Sports, over the last 30 years only five players have logged 55-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in a game. Towns became the newest member of that club last night.
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55+ points, 15+ rebounds in last 30 years
Player | Date | Team | Opponent | Points | Rebounds
Karl-Anthony Towns | March 28, 2018 | Wolves | Hawks | 56 | 15 | Watch
Anthony Davis | Feb. 21, 2016 | Pelicans | Pistons | 59 | 20 | Watch
Shaquille O’Neal | March 6, 2000 | Lakers | Clippers | 61 | 23 | Watch
Michael Jordan | March 28, 1990 | Bulls | Cavs | 69 | 18 | Watch
Karl Malone | Jan. 27, 1990 | Jazz | Bucks | 61 | 18 | Watch
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Additionally, per Elias, Towns became the second-youngest player with at least 55 points and 15 rebounds in a game. Towns is 22 years and 133 days old on Wednesday, putting him a bit behind Hall of Famer Rick Barry (who was 21 years and 261 days old) when he accomplished the feat in 1965. Barry had 57 points and 15 rebounds in a Dec. 14 San Francisco Warriors win against the New York Knicks.
For the record, only four Timberwolves have ever scored 50-plus points in a game: Love (50 points vs. OKC on March 23, 2012), Corey Brewer (51 points on April 11, 2014), Williams and now, Towns.
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Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.