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.
At 34 years old, Bryant is the youngest to reach the milestone, though he also turned pro at 18 and is in his 17th season. Wilt Chamberlain was 35 when he hit the mark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone were each 36 and Michael Jordan was 38.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Bryant said. “These are players I respect tremendously and obviously grew up idolizing and watching and learned a great deal from.”
Dwight Howard added 18 points for the Lakers, who trailed by a point at halftime but seized control with a 13-0 run to open the third quarter, and the lead grew as large as 20.
Spurs 110, Bucks 99: Tony Parker and Gary Neal each scored 22 points, and San Antonio had a season-high 53 rebounds in the win over Milwaukee.
Tim Duncan added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.
Monta Ellis had 21 points and 11 assists for Milwaukee.
San Antonio outrebounded Milwaukee 53-36, including a 28-17 advantage in the second half.
Knicks 100, Bobcats 98: J.R. Smith hit a fallaway jumper from the left wing as time expired to give New York a win over Charlotte.
The Bobcats appeared in position to win after a miss by Raymond Felton with 14 seconds left, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made an ill-advised pass and Smith intercepted it.
After a timeout, Smith drove to the left side and hit an 18-footer over Kidd-Gilchrist.
Clippers 112, Mavericks 90: Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 14 points and 13 assists, propelling Los Angeles over Dallas for its fourth straight victory.
Reserve Vince Carter scored 16 points for Dallas.
Celtics 104, Timberwolves 94: Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 rebounds and remained unbeaten against his former team as Boston beat Minnesota in Rajon Rondo’s return from a two-game suspension.
The Celtics improved to 10-0 against Minnesota since they acquired Garnett from the Timberwolves during the summer of 2007.
Boston went 1-1 without Rondo, suspended for his role in a scuffle during a game against the Brooklyn Nets last week. Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists.
Kevin Love had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the T-Wolves.
Warriors 104, Pistons 97: Klay Thompson scored 19 of his 27 points in the third quarter to help Golden State pull away to beat Detroit.
Tayshaun Prince was the only Pistons starter to reach double figures with 24 points.
Hawks 108, Nuggets 104: Josh Smith’s steal, jam and free throw with 31 seconds remaining extended Atlanta’s lead and the Hawks held on to beat Denver.
Smith had 16 points and 13 rebounds on his 27th birthday, while Al Horford led the Hawks with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Ty Lawson paced Denver with a season-high 32 points.
Bulls 95, Cavaliers 85: Marco Belinelli scored a season-high 23 points, Luol Deng added 22 and Chicago took control early on to beat Cleveland. The Bulls went ahead for good less than two minutes in and shot 66.7 percent in the first quarter.
Anderson Varejao recorded his 10th straight double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds — his 10th straight game with at least 15 boards — for Cleveland.
Kings 107, Raptors 100: DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 13 rebounds to help Sacramento beat Toronto for only its third win in the last 12 games.
Kyle Lowry scored 29 of his 34 points in the second half for the Raptors.
Jazz 87, Magic 81: Al Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Utah over Orlando.
Glen Davis led Orlando with 18 points.