Hornets Crushed By Lakers, Kobe Surpasses 30,000
In front of a sold out New Orleans crowd, Los Angeles Laker superstar Kobe Bryant became the 5th player in NBA history to score 30,000 career points. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Hornets struggled mightily in the second half, falling to L.A. 103-87.
Kobe made a runner late in the first half to surpass 30,000, making him the youngest player ever to reach the milestone. He joins Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points), Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) to reach the impressive 30,000 plateau.
In a twist of irony, Bryant reached the milestone against the franchise that drafted him, then traded him to Los Angeles. Back in 1996, the then Charlotte Hornets drafted Bryant out of high school, only to trade his rights to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. It's obvious who got the better end of that trade.
"The irony. It's funny how sports always seems to kind of have that connectivity in some shape, form or fashion," explained Bryant. "It just kind of always seems to come full circle."
Hornets forward Ryan Anderson was awesome as usual, scoring 31 points and pulling down 9 boards. He showed versatility by taking it to the hole, scoring in the paint, hitting the mid-range shot, and lighting it up from beyond the arc (5-8).
Greivis Vasquez scored 16 and dished out 9 assists, while Robin Lopez finished with 15.
New Orleans' problem on Wednesday night was their bench, and the third quarter. Two days after outstanding production from their bench in a 21 point win over Milwaukee, the Hornets reserves could only manage 16 points on 5-24 shooting from the field.
"I just didn't think our defense was there, especially that first five or six minutes of the third quarter," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "Our defense was really poor, and we can't afford those lapses."
New Orleans shot 27.8% in the third, while allowing L.A. to shoot 57.9%. The Lakers won the quarter 30-16. A lack of focus and intensity coming out for the second half is a bad habit the Hornets can't seem to overcome.
Things get more difficult Friday for the Hornets when the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Hive for a Southwest division showdown. The Grizzlies (13-3) currently own the NBA's best record. Tip-off is set for 7:00.