"I don't know how I feel right now," James told reporters. "I'm just happy we were able to get another win. Anytime my name is mentioned with some of the greats that played this game, I always think back to my hometown, where I come from and how far I have come. So that's it for me"
James scored a game-high 44 points and had 10 rebounds, nine assists and three blocks in the 126-117 victory on Wednesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. While he did light it up in the scoring column, his blocks sent a brutal message to Blazers shot takers.
James stepped in to block Blazers star Damian Lillard just before the halftime buzzer. Lillard took Lakers guard Lonzo Ball off of the dribble beyond the 3-point line before skating into the paint. He put a hesitation move on JaVale McGee before jumping toward the rim. James slid over and sent Lillard's attempt out of bounds with a big time swat.
Another of James' physical plays came with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic spotted Nik Stauskas for a pass toward the rim. Stauskas took the bounce pass and elevated toward the hoop, but James pounced. The Lakers star met Stauskas in midair, sending his dunk attempt to the floor with a vicious rejection.
The most significant play for James came in the final four minutes, when the four-time NBA MVP passed Chamberlain's scoring mark to move up to No. 5 on the NBA's all-time list.
James tied Chamberlain with a beautiful tear-drop jumper at the 3:55 mark. He was fouled on the play and passed the Lakers legend from the free throw line.
"I think it's important to recognize milestones in our game," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "... To do what he did and get on the top-five of that list and play basketball the way that he plays basketball, with how unselfish he is and how great he is with getting his teammates involved is something that should be praised and talked about. I'm sure it will be. I'm doing my part in congratulating one of the all-time greats on a great accomplishment."