Lakers defeat Hornets, 103-87
Kobe Bryant has become the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. He's also the youngest.
The 34-year-old Bryant needed 13 points to reach the plateau before he scored 29 in the Los Angeles Lakers' 103-87 win at the New Orleans Arena. Wilt Chamberlain was 35 when he hit the mark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone were each 36 and Michael Jordan was 38.
Dwight Howard added 18 points for the Lakers, who trailed by a point at halftime before a 13-0 run helped them end a two-game skid.
The Hornets led from early in the first quarter until halftime, going up by as many as eight points when Al-Farouq Aminu slammed down an alley-oop lob from Vasquez, energizing the largest crowd of the season at the New Orleans Arena. But the Lakers took control in the third quarter.
"I just didn't think our defense was there, especially that first five or six minutes of the third quarter," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "Our defense was really poor, and we can't afford those lapses."
Afterward, Bryant sat in his locker, reflecting on the elite company he now keeps in NBA history, and the things he sees in younger prolific scoring stars like Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who the Lakers will see next on Friday night, and who could very well join the 30,000-point club at the rate he's going.
One common characteristic, he said, is an apparent immunity to both pressure and criticism.
"Scorers kind of have a fighter-pilot mentality. We're a different breed," Bryant said. "But there are different positions. We scored in a myriad of ways. We all went about it differently in different situations. It's fun to see."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)