Lakers 103, Hornets 87

Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Kobe Bryant scored 29 points to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points in a career, and the road-challenged Los Angeles Lakers earned a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night at the New Orleans Arena.
Dwight Howard added 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots for the Los Angeles.
The Lakers (9-10) lost five of their previous six road games this season, including a 107-105 defeat at Houston on Tuesday night in which they blew a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead.
Trailing 48-47 at halftime Wednesday, the Lakers scored the first 13 points in a 4:07 span of the third quarter to take command, 60-48. Bryant and Howard had five points each in the spurt. Bryant made a nice defensive play, stripping the ball from Hornets center Robin Lopez and then going all the way for a tomahawk dunk.
The Lakers shot 57.9 percent from the floor on 11-of-19 shooting and outscored the Hornets 30-16 in the third quarter. Darius Morris finished off the surge by taking a quick feed and making a 3-pointer from the right baseline to put Los Angeles up 77-64.
Bryant entered the game needing 13 points to reach 30,000 career points. He had eight in the first quarter and then broke through with a floating jumper in the lane over Lopez with 1:16 left in the second quarter. His 17 first-half points kept the Lakers close at the half.
Bryant missed his first two shots of the game, but he finished by making 10 of his last 15 attempts.
At 34 years and 104 days old, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 points, eclipsing Wilt Chamberlain (35 years, 179 days). In terms of number of games played, Bryant (1,180 games) was fifth-fastest to the 30K mark, behind Chamberlain (941), Michael Jordan (960), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,101) and Karl Malone (1,152).
Bryant probably would have to stay healthy for at least another four seasons to come close to Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA career scoring record of 38,387 points.
Ryan Anderson led the Hornets (5-12) with a game-high 31 points.
NOTES: NBA commissioner David Stern was at the game to visit Hornets owner Tom Benson, tour the New Orleans Saints' facilities in Metairie, La., and get an update on Benson's plans to build new administrative headquarters and a practice facility for the Hornets next to the Saints' facilities. "They're using both organizations to help the other, and I think it's going very well," Stern said. ... The Hornets are reportedly interested in changing the franchise nickname to Pelicans. Stern said the Hornets have submitted five potential names to the league. "I don't have any objections to anything the Hornets want to do name-wise because I'm sure it will be sensible," he said. ... Stern got to watch Bryant reached the 30,000-point mark. "It's great to see," he said. "I think Kobe, as a talent and a competitor, is up there on a pedestal with Michael Jordan." ... Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said his team's rough road start was easy to figure out: poor foul shooting (66.3 percent) and a high rate of turnovers (16.8 per game). "We're 30th (last in the NBA) and we're 30th in foul shooting, and those are two things when you're on the road -- you turn it over and you don't shoot foul shots -- you don't win," D'Antoni said. ... Even though Howard entered the game shooting just 59.2 percent from the foul line -- encouraging opponents to foul him late in games -- D'Antoni said his center poor shooting was blown out of proportion. "He makes them (in practice)," D'Antoni said. "He'll get through it, and we'll get through it."

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