After letting one slip on Tuesday night in Houston, the Lakers took care of business on Wednesday night in New Orleans.
Kobe Bryant scored his 30,000th career point in the second quarter. Then Bryant went on to score another 16 points on the night. He became only the fifth player to ever hit the astronomical 30,000-point mark. He ended the night with 29 points on 10-17 shooting and one turnover.
Bryant wasn’t the only Laker celebrating a historical achievement. Metta World Peace became only the sixth player in NBA history to reach 12,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals, and 1,000 three pointers.
On a night that will be remembered forever for historical purposes, the Lakers won big by doing the little things: managing turnovers and controlling the defensive boards.
The Lakers were down by one at the half and were lucky to be that close. New Orleans had 10 offensive rebounds in the first 24 minutes, and the Lakers appeared on track for a repeat of Tuesday night, when Houston ended the game with 21 offensive rebounds.
Instead, the Lakers tightened up and finished the game off by working the glass. New Orleans only took down two offensive rebounds in the second half. The second half defensive energy was impressive, as the Lakers only allowed 39 points in the final 24 minutes.
Another reason the Lakers lost in Houston on Tuesday was 18 turnovers. On Wednesday, the Lakers focused on taking care of the basketball and only committed 9 turnovers. The Lakers played well for the second night in a row, but this time, they didn’t make the mental errors or lack the energy required to finish off a team on the road.
As a side note, the Hornets did attempt the "Hack-a-Howard" late in the third quarter when the Lakers had an eight-point lead. Dwight Howard stepped up and hit two free throws. By the time Howard entered the game in the fourth quarter, the Lakers were up by 18 points, so the Hornets didn’t bother.
After a well-deserved day off on Thursday, the Lakers head to Oklahoma City on Friday.