Kobe Bryant scored 25 points to pass Oscar Robertson for ninth on the all-time scoring list as the Los Angeles Lakers held off the New Orleans Hornets 101-97 on Friday night.
Pau Gasol had 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who have won three straight and five of six despite the bickering this week between Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson about going outside of the offense.
Bryant shot 10 of 19 and finished the game with 26,720 points after admitting this week that he hasn’t been able to practice as intensely as previous years because of a knee issue he describes as bone-on-bone.
The Lakers were in charge the first 28 minutes before five straight points from Emeka Okafor and a 3-pointer by Marco Belinelli provided the Hornets a 62-61 lead with 6:11 to play in the third. But Los Angeles responded by closing the period on a 19-9 run with scoring from five different Lakers.
New Orleans got as close as 95-92 on another 3-pointer by Belinelli with 1 :45 left, but Bryant converted his second straight difficult layup, a left-hander runner across the lane to answer.
David West had 23 points and 11 rebounds but Chris Paul was held to 12 points and just six shots as the Hornets lost their second straight and are just 10-15 since a franchise-best 11-1 start.