NUEVA ORLEANS, Luisiana, EE.UU. (AP) — Incluso antes de que Kobe Bryant tuviera otra de sus actuaciones dominantes, el comisionado de la NBA, David Stern, lo buscó para felicitarlo por el extraordinario hito en anotaciones que el astro de los Lakers estaba por imponer.

Stern supuso, como muchos aficionados, que Bryant rebasaría los 13 puntos que necesitaba para erigirse en el quinto jugador en la historia de la NBA que rebasaría los 30.000 tantos.

Bryant tuvo 17 unidades al medio tiempo, terminó con 29 y Los Angeles salieron el miércoles de dos derrotas consecutivas con un triunfo de 103-87 sobre los Hornets de Nueva Orleáns.

"Vino a felicitarme y me dijo que yo era uno de los mejores competidores que ha visto en este deporte, y yo aprecié eso mucho", dijo Bryant sobre su encuentro con Stern antes del partido.

Ahora Bryant se encuentra en la elite de la liga. Los otros jugadores que han anotado más de 30.000 puntos son Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan y Wilt Chamberlain.

"Es tan maravilloso", exclamó Bryant. "Esos son jugadores que respeto enormemente y por supuesto que crecí idolatrando y observando, y aprendí mucho".

Cuando el entrenador de los Lakers, Mike D'Antoni, fue consultado antes del partido sobre el hito en cierne de Bryant. Respondió con humor: "Eso únicamente significa que ya está viejo".

En realidad, a los 34 años, Bryant es más joven que los otros cuatro cuando alcanzaron el logro, pero también se hizo profesional a los 18 años y va en su 17ma temporada.

"Honestamente, no sé por qué sigo trabajando tan arduamente después de 17 años", comentó Bryant. "Disfruto lo que hago. Creo que eso es de lo que estoy más orgulloso: cada año, cada día trabajando duro en esto. Son muchos años, mucho trabajo".

Bryant superó el hito con un tiro con salto en la parte final de la primera mitad, que fue quizás la menos espectacular de sus canastas. Sus encestes incluyeron una serie de clavadas con grandes saltos, contragolpes desmoralizantes de tres puntos y canastas con saltos y fuera de equilibrio que voltearon el marcador.

Dwight Howard aportó 18 puntos y tapó cinco lanzamientos para la causa de los Lakers, que iban abajo 48-47 al medio tiempo, pero el equipo se apoderó del control con una ofensiva en la que logró 13 unidades contra cero de sus rivales al inicio del tercer periodo. Los Angeles lograron una ventaja de hasta 20 puntos en el último cuarto.

Ryan Anderson anotó 31 unidades, acertó cinco de ocho triples para los Hornets, que jugaron su noveno partido consecutivo sin su máxima selección, Anthony Davis. El venezolano Greivis Vásquez consiguió 16 unidades, mientras que Robin López consiguió 15 y bloqueó cinco lanzamientos. Vásquez tuvo además nueve asistencias y cinco tableros en casi 37 minutos.

Anderson dijo que Bryant "merece todo el reconocimiento que reciba".

"Es un tipo especial cuando lo enfrentas. Desafortunadamente, no conseguimos la victoria", expresó Anderson. "Me hubiera gustado que llegara a los 30.000, pero que nosotros tuviéramos el triunfo".

Antawn Jamison logró 15 tantos y Metta World Peace, 11, en tanto que Chris Duhon tuvo 10 asistencias para Los Angeles, que juega sin Steve Nash ni Pau Gasol y que ganó apenas por segunda vez como visitante en la temporada.

Los Hornets acumulan foja de 3-7 de locales y sufrieron su 10mo descalabro en 12 partidos.

La gran actuación que San Antonio mostró la semana pasada en Miami, aunque terminó con una cuantiosa multa y una severa reprimenda de la NBA, derivó en una inspirada victoria para los Spurs.

Tony Parker y Gary Neal anotaron cada uno 22 puntos, y San Antonio consiguió el miércoles su mayor cantidad de rebotes en la temporada con 53 en camino a una victoria de 110-99 sobre los Bucks de Milwaukee.

Tim Duncan aportó 17 unidades y 10 rebotes para San Antonio (15-4). El brasileño Tiago Splitter consiguió 15 puntos y el argentino Manu Ginóbili 11, en tanto que Matt Bonner logró 12 tableros, su cifra más alta en la temporada.

Mientras Neal fue titular en reemplazo de Danny Green que está lesionado, la banca de San Antonio aportó 40 tantos y 13 rebotes, además de que colaboró en una ofensiva determinante de 36-13 entre los dos últimos periodos contra Milwaukee (8-9).

"Ese fue nuestro mejor grupo en toda la noche, en la cancha", dijo el entrenador de los Spurs, Gregg Popovich.

La contribución de los suplentes tuvo lugar horas después de que el comisionado Stern reafirmó que su decisión de multar a San Antonio con 250.000 dólares era "apropiada".

Stern consideró que la determinación de Popovich de enviar de regreso a casa a Parker, Duncan, Gin(obili y Green en vez de ponerlos a jugar el jueves pasado en un partido transmitido a todo Estados Unidos por televisión "no se trataba de una decisión de entrenador. Esto se trata más de la relación entre nuestros 30 equipos y 30 propietarios".

Los Spurs creen que la decisión de Popovich fue una buena decisión del entrenador.

En el resto de la jornada, los Knicks de Nueva York vencieron 100-98 a los Bobcats de Charlotte, los Pacers de Indiana 99-92 a los Trail Blazers de Portland, los Warriors de Golden State 104-97 a los Pistons de Detroit, los Celtics de Boston 104-94 a los Timberwolves de Minnesota y los Bulls de Chicago 95-85 a los Cavaliers de Cleveland.

También, los Hawks de Atlanta recibieron 25 puntos de Al Horford y derrotaron 108-104 a los Nuggets de Denver, el Jazz de Utah 87-81 al Magic de Orlando, los Kings de Sacramento 107-100 a los Raptors de Toronto y los Clippers de Los Angeles 112-90 a los Mavericks de Dallas.

___

El periodista de la AP Raúl Domínguez Jr. en San Antonio contribuyó en la información.

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  • Thabo Sefolosha (L) of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends against Kobe Bryant (R) of the Los Angeles Lakers on January 11, 2013 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

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