Everything you need to know about the Five for Week 17
LeBron is about to make history, the trade deadline is Thursday, there are games you must watch, and more.
All you need to know about the Five for Week 17 of the NBA
1. Watching LeBron: 36 points from the past
This week, LeBron James will break one of the best and longest-held records in NBA history. He needs just 36 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.
LeBron is seventh in the NBA in scoring at 30 points per game, which is the same number he scored last week. Based on that average, he would need to win two more games to break the record. That would be Thursday at home against Milwaukee, where Kareem started his career in 1969 and played for six seasons before moving to Los Angeles.
But in nine of the 43 games LeBron has played so far this season, he has scored at least 36 points. So, it's possible that he could break the record at home against Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
This season, LeBron hasn't played the Thunder yet, but he scored 33 points against OKC last year. The Thunder are the eighth team he has scored an average of 28.1 points per game against.
Lakers' Week 17 schedule
- Tuesday, February 7 at 10 p.m. ET, TNT, vs. Oklahoma City
- Thursday, February 9 at 10 p.m. ET, TNT, vs. Milwaukee
- Saturday, February 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET, at Golden State. ABC
Since Kareem has held this record for nearly 39 years, it has sometimes seemed impossible to beat. But at the start of this season, the question wasn't if LeBron would break the record, but when. LeBron has scored at a level that has never been matched in his 20 years in the NBA. He has averaged at least 25 points for 19 years in a row, and in his 20th season, he is putting up numbers that no other player has even come close to matching. Father Time may not have lost yet, but LeBron is giving him the best fight we have ever seen.
Even though LeBron does not like to be called a scorer, he is about to break some of the NBA's most important scoring records.
- Points for the regular season: 38,352
- Kareem's record of 38,387 is only 36 short of being broken.
- 11,668 more than the next player in the game (Kevin Durant: 26,684)
- Points for the playoffs: 7,631
- There were 1,644 more than in second place (Michael Jordan: 5,987)
- 3,072 more than the next player in the game (Durant: 4,559)
- All-Star Points: 413 and 123 more than the runner-up (Kobe Bryant: 290)
- 163 more points than the next player (Durant: 250)
- Most Games with 10 or More Points in a Row: 1,139,273 more than second place (Jordan: 866)
- 1,031 more than the next player in the game (Joel Embiid: 108)
- Highest average score for people aged 33 or older: 30 points per game at 38
- 1 ppg more than the second-place team (Dominique Wilkins: 29.9 ppg at 33)
- Highest average score for those 38 or older: 30 points per game at age 38
- 6 ppg more than the second-place team (Kareem: 23.4 ppg at 38)
- Highest scoring average after 18 seasons: 30 points per game in the 20th season
- 4 ppg more than the second-place team (Karl Malone: 20.6 ppg in 18th season)
- Highest average score in the 20th season or later: 30 points per game in the 20th season
- 4 ppg more than the second-place team (Bryant: 17.6 ppg in 20th season)
2. Kyrie Irving going to Dallas stirs up trade rumors before the deadline on Thursday
On Friday, it was said that Kyrie Irving had asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him before the trade deadline on February 9. Since there was no deal on a contract extension and Irving could leave as a free agent this summer, the Nets gave him what he asked for. And did it pretty fast.
By Sunday, it was said that the Nets and Mavericks had made a deal for the Nets to send Irving and Markieff Morris to Dallas in exchange for Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and two draft picks in the future.
Spencer Dinwiddie's first-round pick in 2029 and the Mavericks' second-round picks in 2027 and 2029:
- Kyrie Irving
- Markieff Morris
With this move, Irving will play with Mavericks star Luka Doncic. This will give Dallas a backcourt with two All-Star starters at the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City later this month. After losing Jalen Brunson in free agency last summer, the Mavericks have needed a second player who can make plays and score to go with Doncic.
Irving brings a lot of talent to Dallas. In the 30 games he has played so far this season, he has averaged 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. However, Irving has had problems off the court that have kept him from playing each of the last two seasons. Irving was banned for eight games in November because he shared a link to an anti-Semitic file on social media.
until Thursday's trade deadline, a deal that was very official was made.
Will this trade between the Mavericks and the Nets be the first of many this week, or will it be the biggest deal of the season? We won't know the answer until Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, when the deadline hits zero.
You can get ready for Thursday by reading about five teams to keep an eye on at the trade deadline and a full breakdown of all the deadline's parts.
3. National TV Spotlight: Four games other than LeBron Watch that you should watch
Obviously, you should watch every Lakers game until LeBron breaks the all-time scoring record.
This kind of history doesn't happen very often. Kareem's record has stood for almost 40 years, and no one knows how high LeBron will set it for future players to beat. You don't want to miss this moment of history.
Here are four more games that will be shown all over the country this week:
Monday, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV: Milwaukee at Portland
Five of the last seven 50+ point games in the NBA have been scored by either Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo (54 vs. LA Clippers on Feb. 2; 50 vs. New Orleans on Jan. 29; 55 vs. Washington on Jan. 3) or Portland's Damian Lillard (60 vs. Utah on Jan. 25; 50 vs. Cleveland on Jan. 12).
Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dallas plays the LA Clippers.
Kyrie Irving will reportedly go to Dallas on Monday for his physical. He will then go on the road with the Mavericks and make his debut with the team on Wednesday against the Clippers. The recent playoff history of LA and Dallas made this matchup already interesting, but Kyrie's first game makes it even more so.
Saturday: Philadelphia at Brooklyn, 6 p.m. ET, NBA TV
The Sixers are third in the Eastern Conference and the Nets are fourth. Going into Week 17, the Sixers have a two-game lead over the Nets in the standings and a 2-0 lead in the season series. Keep an eye on Kevin Durant's injury status. The Nets gave an update on Durant's recovery from an MCL sprain that has kept him out of action since January 8. The news release said that Durant would start running and playing basketball and that he would be evaluated again in two weeks, on Tuesday, Feb. 7. If Durant is able to come back, this could be a must-see game to see the Nets' new look against a strong team.
Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Memphis will play Boston on ABC.
In an interview with Memphis' Ja Morant that aired on ESPN on December 21, NBA Today host Malika Andrews said:
Andrews: Who in the league do you look at and say, "We're going to have to run through them"?
Andrews: Nobody in the west?
Morant: No, I'm fine where I am.
Since that interview, the Grizzlies have gone 13-10, with a 6-2 record against the East and a 7-8 record against the West. Morant and the Grizzlies play the Celtics for the second and last time during the regular season this week. On November 7, Jayson Tatum scored 39 points to help the Celtics beat the Grizzlies 109-106 in Memphis. Morant led the Grizzlies with 30 points, nine assists, and eight boards.
4. Games on League Pass to Watch
Monday at 10 p.m. ET, League Pass will show Oklahoma City play Golden State.
Stephen Curry will miss another stretch of games for the Warriors because he hurt his knee in the third quarter of Saturday's game against Dallas. An MRI showed that his left knee ligaments were damaged, so he is likely to miss a few weeks of work. Curry hurt his shoulder in the middle of December and missed almost a month of games. During those 11 games, the Warriors went 6-5, and Jordan Poole averaged a team-high 27.9 points per game. This season, the Warriors are 20-18 when Curry is on the team and 7-8 when he is not.
Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, League Pass will show Minnesota play Utah.
This season, no team has been in more games that were decided by one point than the Utah Jazz, who went 5-3 in those games. One of those wins was against Minnesota on January 16, when Walker Kessler had a career night with 20 points and 21 rebounds. Kessler was one of the players Utah got when they traded Rudy Gobert this offseason. Gobert is going back to Utah for the last time during the regular season. The Wolves won his first game back on December 9, when he had 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Friday, at 10 p.m. ET, League Pass will show Dallas play Sacramento.
The No. 3 Kings and No. 6 Mavericks are playing back-to-back games in Sacramento. This is the first of two games in two nights. In Week 17, the teams will play each other for the first time this season. They are only two games apart in the standings. If the Kyrie Irving trade goes as planned, these will be the second and third games that Kyrie and Luka will play together as they try to get along on the court in Dallas.
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, League Pass: Chicago vs. Cleveland
The last time the Bulls and Cavaliers played, on January 2, it was a historic game because Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points. He was only the seventh player in NBA history to score at least 70 points in a game. It was the game with the most points since Kobe Bryant scored 81 in 2006. Cleveland won by a score of 145-134 in overtime because of this scoring spree.
5. NBA Trivia: The Trade Deadline
Transaction records in the NBA that have to do with deadlines go all the way back to 1987. Which deadline has seen the most trades, involving the most teams and moving the most players, over the past 35 years?
On March 25, 2021, there were more trades than any other day. On that day, 16 trades took place between 23 teams and 48 players, which was the most in all three categories.
The chart above shows how the trade deadline has changed over the past 35 years. It shows the number of trades, the teams involved, and the players who moved. For each category, the dashed lines show the trendline for that category. All three trends have been going up steadily, but none as much as the people involved.
Will these trends keep going after Thursday's trade deadline? Time is running out.