Kevin Durant may reach 30,000 points at some point in his career. He might even win a ring or two.
Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant can check off both on his NBA resume and will face Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night.
Bryant, a five-time champion and 14-time All-Star, eclipsed the 30,000-point mark in his career during Wednesday's 103-87 road victory against the New Orleans Hornets. He scored 29 points and became the fifth member to join the illustrious scoring club. Bryant, who leads the NBA with 28.0 ppg, is the youngest to reach 30,000 points.
"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."
Dwight Howard added 18 points, eight boards and five blocks for the Lakers, who snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the third time in eight tries. Antawn Jamison and Metta World Peace netted 15 and 11 points, respectively, in the win.
The Lakers rebounded from a loss at Houston and will close out a three-game trek Friday night. They own a 2-5 record as the guest and are playing seven of eight games away from Staples Center.
L.A. power forward Pau Gasol missed the game against the Hornets with a balky knee and is doubtful against the Thunder.
Meanwhile, the Thunder have ripped off six straight wins and nine in their last 10 games. They will begin a five-game homestand Friday versus the Lakers, Pacers, Hornets, Kings and Spurs. Oklahoma City and San Antonio have the most wins in the NBA with identical 15-4 records.
The Northwest Division-leading Thunder swept both games on their quick road trip and recently handed the Brooklyn Nets a 117-111 loss on Tuesday. Durant, who is second in the league with 26.5 ppg, led the way with 32 points, six assists and five rebounds.
"We have a great group of guys here who are doing a great job," Durant said. "We're just playing together and playing defense. That's the key formula."
Russell Westbrook added 25 points and nine assists, while Serge Ibaka scored 18 points and Thabo Sefolosha contributed 14 for the Thunder, who have won five in a row at home and are 9-2 in the OKC.
Oklahoma City has scored over 100 points in 10 straight games.
The Thunder and Lakers will play the first of four meetings on Friday. Oklahoma City won two of three against the Lakers a season ago, but L.A. is 15-4 in the past 19 matchups between the West heavyweights.
The Lakers have won 10 of 14 and 12 of the last 19 road meetings.