Lakers coach Luke Walton saluted “unselfish” LeBron James after the Lakers superstar moved into fifth place on the all-time NBA scoring list.
James, 33, moved past Wilt Chamberlain’s mark of 31,419 points in the Lakers’ 126-117 win over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
He scored 44 points on 13-of-19 shooting, also added 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Walton — the son of another basketball great, Bill Walton — said in his postgame news conference: “Before we talk about the game, I think it’s important to recognize milestones in our game.
“To do what he did and get on the top five of that list and play basketball the way 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 and I’m sure it will be.
“I’m doing my part in congratulating one of the all-time greats on a great accomplishment.”
Luke Walton talks about Rondo breaking his hand, and congratulates LeBron James on moving up the NBA all-time points list. pic.twitter.com/OCxYy4UHeK
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 15, 2018
Walton lauded the way James stamped his authority on the game at Staples Center, particularly after halftime.
“He was definitely more aggressive on some of the things, and it’s something we’ve talked about as the season’s gone,” he said of the three-time NBA champion’s second-half display.
“It’s constantly finding that balance of being aggressive and putting the team on your shoulders — not that we didn’t have some great performances from some other people as well — and letting some of the other guys, younger guys still continue to playmake and take big shots and draw up plays for them.
“I thought he took it upon himself more to just be aggressive and make sure we were where we had to be.”