Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time career scoring list, then he helped the Lakers win their third in a row with a 100-94 victory over the Timberwolves in Minnesota.
Bryant climbed into third place behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, passing Jordan’s 32,292 points with a pair of free throws in the second quarter.
The Timberwolves wiped out a 10-point deficit to tie the score at 94-94 with 1:22 left before Bryant converted a long three-point shot over two defenders. He then scored his 26th point of the night 42 seconds later with a free throw.
Nick Young (seven points) finished the scoring for the night with a pair of free throws, giving the Lakers their six-point winning margin.
Carlos Boozer added a double-double (22 points, 13 rebounds) off the bench with 22 points and 13 and Wesley Johnson contributed 12 points and six assists for the Lakers, who shot 42% from the field and 29.4% (5 of 17) from three-point range.
Minnesota was led by UCLA product Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 28 points off the bench in 27 1/2 minutes. Zach LaVine, also of UCLA, started in place of point guard Mo Williams (back), giving the Timberwolves 10 points and six assists.
Corey Brewer was one assist shy of a double-double with 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Andrew Wiggins added 16 points.
The Timberwolves shot 42.2% from the field and 30% (3 of 10) from behind the arc.
The Lakers (8-16) will try to win their fourth straight on Monday when they play the Pacers (7-17) in Indianapolis. The Timberwolves (5-18) are off until Tuesday, when they’ll play the Wizards (17-6) in Washington.
Lakers 73, Timberwolves 69 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers pulled ahead by 10 points with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter but couldn’t hold the double-digit lead heading into the fourth.
Shabazz Muhammad leads all scorers with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting and Andrew Wiggins added 10 points for the Timberwolves, who shot 43.9% from the field.
The Lakers had four players in double-figure scoring: Kobe Bryant (16), Jordan Hill (13), Wesley Johnson (12) and Carlos Boozer (10).
Lakers 49, Timberwolves 44 (halftime)
Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan (32,292) on the NBA’s all-time career scoring list, converting a pair of free throws with 5:24 on the clock in the second quarter to record his 32,293rd point.
The game was paused to honor Bryant, with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor handing the game ball to the Lakers all-star, as players on both teams took a moment to congratulate Bryant.
Bryant finished with 14 points in the half on three-of-10 shooting, but he went seven for seven at the free-throw line.
The Lakers shot 42.9% from the field as a team. Carlos Boozer added eight points and six rebounds off the bench.
Former UCLA Bruin Shabazz Muhammad led the Wolves with 14 in 13 minutes. Andrew Wiggins scored 10 as Minnesota hit 48.7% from the field.
Lakers 22, Timberwolves 19 (end of first quarter)
Kobe Bryant neared Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, but didn’t reach the milestone in the first quarter on Sunday against the Timberwolves.
Bryant missed four of five shots, scoring four points, four shy of Jordan’s 32,292 points.
The Lakers were led by Wesley Johnson with six points as the team shot 40.9% from the field.
The Wolves shot 42.1%, with rookie Andrew Wiggins leading the way with six.
Mo Williams did not play (back), with UCLA rookie Zach LaVine starting in his place. LaVine didn’t score in eight minutes.
The Lakers (7-16) look to win their third in a row, visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-17) on Sunday.
The Timberwolves previously beat the Lakers in late-November, 120-19, despite playing without Kevin Martin (wrist), Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and Ricky Rubio (ankle) and Ronny Turiaf (hip).
The same players are out Sunday and Mo Williams has been sidelined recently with back spasms.
The Lakers are still down Xavier Henry (Achilles), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).
For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves.