Kobe Bryant Breaks 30,000-Point Milestone As Lakers Win Over Hornets, 103-87
Kobe Bryant scored 29 points Wednesday night in a 103-87 drubbing of the New Orleans Hornets by the Los Angeles Lakers, in the process becoming the fifth player in NBA history — and the youngest since Wilt Chamberlain — to score 30,000 career points.
The Hornets defense fended off Bryant’s attacks for nearly seven minutes in a strong first half showing, holding him scoreless until 5:14 left in the first quarter. Sixteen minutes later, with 1:16 remaining in the first half, Bryant slid to the rim, lofted two points, and notched his 30K milestone.
Bryant and three of his fellow starters scored in double digits for Los Angeles. Dwight Howard finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks. Metta World Peace contributed 11 points, 9 rebounds.
The Lakers took control in the second half of the game, outscoring the Hornets 30-16 in the third. Bryant put on a highlight clinic with back-to-back dunks on a Lakers 13-0 scoring run.
“We came out in the third quarter and looked like a young team,” Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams said during his postgame press conference. “Our defense just kind of left us in the third quarter, and they took advantage of it.”
In the final quarter the Hornets fell apart on both ends of the floor. Uncontested 3-pointers by Darius Morris and Bryant rattled the New Orleans defense, and the Hornets’ playmaking defaulted to isolation scoring, which gave the bigger, faster, more experienced Lakers the advantage.
“The [Lakers] starters came out in the third quarter and they were a little more determined,” said Hornets guard Roger Mason. “We didn’t have the juice or energy they did. They turned their game up and broke open the game.”
“This is part of the experience for us,” Williams said. “We need to grow from it.”
Hornets forward Ryan Anderson scored 31 points and nine rebounds, his second 30-plus game of the season. Point guard Vasquez Greivis scored 16 points, and was one assist away from a double-double. Anderson and Vasquez both have four double-doubles so far this season.
Offensive rebounds yielded New Orleans 12 second-chance points.
The Lakers started to pull away after Hornets center Robin Lopez was benched after picking up his 4th foul with 8:14 left in the 3rd quarter. Jason Smith subbed in to defend the interior, but was outclassed by Howard’s strength. The Lakers ended up scoring 18 of their third quarter points within three feet of the rim.
Lopez did not re-emerge until there was just 7:43 left in the fourth quarter, when Jason Smith picked up his fourth foul. However, by that time the Lakers were in full control of the tempo of the game, and the Hornets never had a chance to catch up.
The Hornets face the Memphis Grizzlies, currently sitting on top of the Western Conference, on Friday. This is the last of their five-game homestand.