As the Los Angeles Lakers attempt to defend their title, the team’s two stars continue to have drastically different seasons. LeBron James is setting records and potentially on his way to winning another NBA MVP award, while Anthony Davis watches from the bench and recovers from an injury.

James was one of the few bright spots in the Lakers’ 109-98 home loss against the Brooklyn Nets Thursday night. In addition to putting up 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, the league’s top star became the youngest player ever to score 35,000 career points. 

Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone rank ahead of James on the all-time scoring list. James turned 36 years old in December. He is the only one to reach the 35,000-point mark before his 38th birthday.

With season averages of 25.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, James has largely carried the Lakers to the second-best record in basketball. The four-time NBA Finals MVP has played in every single game, leading the way as Davis has a somewhat disappointing 2020-2021 campaign.

James is the captain of the Western Conference All-Star Team.

Davis has missed seven games with multiple injuries. A calf strain will force him to miss at least a month of games. The Lakers’ starting power forward has missed two straight contests, and head coach Frank Vogel told reporters Thursday that Davis would be out for another four weeks.

After he suffered a calf strain and reaggravated an Achilles injury Sunday, it was reported that Davis would likely be out until at least the All-Star Game on March 7. Los Angeles is expected to be overly cautious with Davis, who is key to their hopes of repeating as NBA champions.

Before his latest injury, Davis was not quite playing to the level he reached last year, which made him an All-NBA First-Team selection. The 27-year-old’s scoring average is down from 26.1 points to 22.5 points per game. His rebounds (9.3 to 8.4), assists (3.2 to 3.0) and blocks (2.3 to 1.8) per game are also down.

The Lakers are still the No.1 ranked defensive team in the NBA and the favorites to win the 2021 Finals.

LeBron James Anthony Davis Lakers LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images