NBA: Lakers celebrate James but fall to Bucks

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers celebrated LeBron James' ascent to the top of the NBA's (National Basketball Association) all-time scoring list but their on-court struggles continued with a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

James, nursing a sore left ankle, did not play in the 115-106 defeat, but he was feted before the contest with a video tribute two days after he overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had topped the scoring list for 39 years.

The Lakers star forward, who now has 38,390 points in a 20-year career, took the opportunity to thank his family once again.

“This is my starting five,” James said of his mother Gloria, wife Savannah, sons Bronny and Bryce and daughter Zhuri.

“I wouldn't be able to do what I do on a day-to-day basis, I wouldn't be able to come on this court and showcase my talents to you guys every single night if I didn't have the support and the commitment that I have from my family.”

James was later a spectator as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bucks to a come-from-behind victory.

Khris Middleton added 22 points off the bench for Milwaukee, who trailed by eight at half-time but out-scored Los Angeles 38-23 in the third quarter to take control.

Dennis Schroder led the Lakers with 25 points and Anthony Davis added 23, but after a third straight defeat, Los Angeles will be looking forward to getting their new trade deadline acquisitions – including Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell – on the floor.

The Lakers also got guard Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt from Utah in the three-team deal that saw them give up Russell Westbrook.

The Bucks' ninth straight victory saw them move one game behind the Boston Celtics (39-16) atop the Eastern Conference.

The Lakers dropped to 25-31 in the West.

Milwaukee had to overcome inconsistent shooting as a team, finishing just 45-for-99 (45.5 per cent) from the floor on the night and 12-for-47 (25.5 per cent) from three-point range.

Los Angeles, despite their loss, were better with 42-for-89 (47.2 per cent) from the floor and seven-for-18 (38.9 per cent) from beyond the arc.

“Tonight we did not shoot it well, but I think generally speaking, we've been shooting the ball better. I think it's been our unselfishness, the way the ball has moved, the pop that we're playing with,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said on ESPN.

“Getting Khris healthy makes a big difference, so it's a little bit of everything. It's hard to keep a stretch like this going, but we want to keep pushing.”

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