Kobe Bryant has become the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. He's also the youngest. The 34-year-old Bryant needed 13 points to reach the plateau before he scored 29 in the Los Angeles Lakers' 103-87 win at New Orleans. Wilt Chamberlain was 35 when he hit the mark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone were each 36 and Michael Jordan was 38.
In other NBA action, the New York Knicks lead the NBA's Eastern Conference at 15-4 after J.R. Smith stole a pass in the final seconds of tied-up game against Charlotte. The fall-away jumper ended the game 100-98. Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds to help the Knicks win their fourth in a row. Carmelo Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half and sat out the final 2:10 after injuring his left hand while diving for a loose ball.
Boston beat Minnesota 104-94 behind Kevin Garnett's 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rajon Rondo added 17 points and 11 assists in his first game since completing a two-game suspension for his role in a scuffle with Brooklyn last Wednesday.
In the NFL Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger appears on track to return this weekend against San Diego. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis returned to practice Wednesday as he makes his way back from a torn right triceps. The 37-year-old linebacker was hurt Oct. 14 against Dallas and placed on injured reserve, designated for return.
Denver will play the Raiders in Oakland tonight.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press