Kobe Bryant became the fifth player in NBA history to eclipse 30,000 career points, as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 103-87, on Wednesday.
Bryant entered the elite scoring club with 1:16 left in the second quarter, when he made a floating jumper in the paint for his 13th and 14th points of the game.
"It's pretty awesome," said Bryant, who joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain in the 30,000-point club. "These are players I respect tremendously and obviously grew up idolizing and watching and learned a great deal from."
Bryant (34 years, 104 days) became the youngest player in NBA history to reach the milestone. He had 29 points and six rebounds on Wednesday.
Dwight Howard added 18 points, eight boards and five blocks for the Lakers, who snapped a two-game skid. Antawn Jamison and Metta World Peace donated 15 and 11 points, respectively.
World Peace became the sixth player in NBA history to record 12,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 1,000 3-pointers and 1,500 steals in a career. Only Reggie Miller, Bryant, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd and Paul Pierce have gotten to those marks in their careers.
Ryan Anderson made five 3-pointers en route to 31 points for the Hornets, who have lost eight in a row against the Lakers. Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez had 16 and 15 points, respectively.
New Orleans led by seven late in the first quarter, but Bryant scored the final four points of the frame to cut the gap to 23-20.
The Hornets used a 7-0 spurt late in the second stanza to take a 44-36 lead with 2:35 to go.
Trailing by five, 45-40, Bryant made a floating jumper in the lane to surpass 30,000 career points. Bryant added three free throws before the half was over, getting Los Angeles within one, 48-47.
"I know in the first half they had 10 offensive rebounds and the night before we gave up 21," said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. "It was killing us in the first half, so we talked about it at half, and played much better in the second half."
The Lakers scored the first 13 points of the second half to gain control. Howard and Bryant tallied five points apiece during the surge to give the visitors a 60-48 lead with 7:53 left in the third.
Los Angeles outscored New Orleans by a 30-16 margin in the third period to take a 77-64 edge into the fourth.
"The starters came out in the third quarter and they were a little more determined," said Hornets guard Roger Mason Jr. "We didn't have the juice or energy like they did. They turned their games up and broke open the game."
The Hornets never got closer than 11 in the final frame.
The Lakers have won five straight at New Orleans ... Los Angeles went 13-of-28 from beyond the arc ... Lakers forward Pau Gasol missed his second straight game due to knee tendinitis.