NEW ORLEANS — Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, making him the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a two-game skid with a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.
Bryant entered the game needing only 13 points to eclipse the scoring milestone and did so with a short jumper late in the first half that was perhaps the least spectacular of his baskets, which included the usual array of soaring dunks, demoralizing transition 3-pointers and turnaround, off-balance jumpers.
Dwight Howard added 18 points and five blocked shots for the Lakers, who trailed 48-47 at halftime but seized control with a 13-0 run to open the third quarter, and the lead grew as large as 20 in the fourth.
Ryan Anderson scored 31, hitting 5 of 8 3-pointers for the Hornets, who were playing their ninth straight game without top overall draft choice Anthony Davis. Greivis Vasquez added 16 points, while Robin Lopez scored 15 points and blocked five shots.
Antawn Jamison scored 15 and Metta World Peace 11, and Chris Duhon had 10 assists for Los Angeles, which is playing without Steve Nash and Pau Gasol and won for only the second time on the road this season. The Hornets fell to 3-7 at home and lost for the 10th time in 12 games overall.
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.
Bryant helped the Lakers trim their deficit after that, hitting five free throws and his milestone on 3-foot jumper in the last 2:15 of the second quarter.
Jamison opened the third-quarter onslaught with 3, Howard followed with a fast-break layup and Bryant had two straight fast-break dunks, one of which he created himself with a steal.
Howard finished the surge with a layup.
Anderson’s shooting helped the Hornets pull to 70-62 late in the third period, but Bryant hit an 18-footer and Jodie Meeks added one of his three 3-pointers to give Los Angeles a 13-point lead heading into the final period. Meeks and Darius Morris then added 3s early in the period and New Orleans could not recover.
Notes: NBA Commissioner David Stern attended the game and said he was happy to be in attendance for Bryant’s milestone moment, even if the scheduling was pure coincidence. Stern was making a regularly scheduled visit with first-year Hornets owner Tom Benson, who is also the owner of the NFL’s Saints, to see how Benson’s plans for the NBA franchise were taking shape. Stern visited Saints headquarters, where new construction has begun on additions that will also accommodate Hornets offices and practice courts. Stern said he wanted to shake hands with Bryant after the game. “As a talent, a competitor, I think that he is up there on the pedestal with Michael Jordan. He is one of the greatest.” ... Stern also discussed the possibility of a team name change, something Benson has said he wants since buying the club last spring. Stern says the club has not yet applied for a name change but that the league would likely accept whatever name the Hornets want and expedite the transition.