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Lebron pours in 43 as Lakers hold off Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (AP) – LeBron James is taking giant leaps lately toward breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring mark.

James scored 43 points to pull within 500 of the NBA record, and the Los Angeles Lakers avenged last month’s home loss to the Charlotte Hornets with a 121-115 victory yesterday.

James had two dunks on alley-oops, including a high-flying, reverse windmill slam off a feed from Dennis Schroder, to push his career total to 37,903 points. That left him 484 behind Abdul-Jabbar’s long-standing record of 38,387.

Thomas Bryant had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Austin Reaves and Schroder each had 15 points as the Lakers (16-21) finished a 3-2 road trip.

“We just had the mindset of wanting to close out this trip the right way,” James said.

Terry Rozier had 27 points to lead the Hornets, who have lost 13 of their last 16 games LaMelo Ball added 24 points and Mason Plumlee had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Charlotte.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game. PHOTO: AP

The Hornets (10-28) beat the Lakers 134-130 on December 23.

James, battling ankle soreness, was on his game in this one, adding 11 rebounds and six assists to improve to 47-7 against owner Michael Jordan’s Hornets.

James picked up where he left off in December, when he averaged 31.2 points over 14 games, including a 47-point effort on Friday night on his 38th birthday against the Atlanta Hawks.

He was 16 of 26 from the field on Monday and had 23 points in the second half.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham called it “just another magnificent night” for James.

“I just think he is taking his time and really looking at what the defense is trying to do to him,” Ham said. “There were times where he had to be a willing passer and he was just that. If he was going to attack them downhill, making his three ball, getting out and running in transition. There was a variety of ways he is on the attack and again, they had a couple of possessions where they were trying to blitz him. He’s finding the open man and making plays for other guys, and it forces the defense to play behind us.”

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