KOBE BRYANT passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA scoring list and had 10 points in the final 5 minutes to lead the visiting Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves last night.
Bryant needed nine points to move past Jordan's 32,292 and he knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:24 to play in the first half to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone on the NBA's career scoring podium. Bryant finished with 26 points on 7-for-20 shooting and hit a three-pointer with just over a minute to play that helped seal the victory.
Only Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Malone (36,928) have scored more points.
"I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone," Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement given to the Associated Press. "He's obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I've enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."
Magic Johnson also posted his congratulations on Twitter and said Bryant was a top-five player in league history.
"That's the most important thing to me," Bryant said, "playing for the respect of the greats and feeling like I'm a part of that culture and a part of that brotherhood."
* At New Orleans, Stephen Curry scored eight of his 34 points in overtime, and the Golden State Warriors won their 16th straight, 128-122, over the Pelicans. Klay Thompson added 29 points for the Warriors, whose franchise-long winning streak includes a club-record 10 straight road victories.
Tyreke Evans scored 34 points for the Pelicans, but fouled out with 3 minutes left in overtime. Jrue Holiday had 30 points, nine assists and five steals for New Orleans, which was playing without Anthony Davis (chest injury) but still led 107-99 with 4:16 left in regulation.
* At Miami, Mike Dunleavy led a balanced attack with 22 points and Chicago overcame a sloppy start to beat Miami, 93-75. Dwyane Wade had 17 points for the Heat, which was missing leading scorer Chris Bosh (calf strain, day-to-day).
In Bulls news, rookie forward Doug McDermott is expected to be sidelined 4 to 6 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Saturday.
* At Washington, John Wall had 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Wizards overcame a sluggish start to put away the slumping Utah Jazz, 93-84. The Wizards have won four straight.
* At Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook had 28 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, Kevin Durant added 23 points and eight rebounds and the Thunder won its sixth straight game, beating the Phoenix Suns, 112-88.
* At New York, Kyle Lowry had 21 points and 11 assists, controlling the overtime period and leading the Toronto Raptors to a 95-90 victory over the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony had 34 points for the Knicks.