81

When Kobe Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters and single-handedly outscored the Dallas Mavericks, I thought to myself that there was no way in the world I would see anything like this in the near future.

This was absolutely the best individual scoring performance I’ve ever seen.  Sure, Kobe has scored 56 against the Memphis Grizzlies in three quarters, but this was different.  The Lakers were a mediocre squad playing against one of the top teams in the league.  The fact Kobe was able to score that much AND outscore a TEAM made it seem like something out of a video game.

Immediately, the debate as to what Bryant could’ve done had he played the fourth quarter.  There were also discussions arguing whether Phil Jackson should have sat him to begin with when there was potential history at stake.

Thankfully, about a month later, we didn’t have to speculate anymore.  Bryant dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors, steering the Los Angeles Lakers to a come-from-behind 122-104 victory.  It was the second highest-scoring performance in an NBA game all-time, next only to Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game.

That night, Bryant made 28 of 46 shots.  He also drained 7-of-13 three-point attempts, and went 18-for-20 from the free throw line.

To put it in perspective, many star players are often criticized when their shot attempts reach the 30 mark.  To hoist up 46 and make more than half of them, you really have to have your shot going.

Moreover, this was all out of necessity as the Raptors led the Lakers by eighteen points at one point in the third quarter.

Nine years later, this game is still discussed among sports fans.  Since Kobe Bryant’s career is nearing its end, the talk of his performance garners more reflection and respect.  With his recent shoulder injury potentially sidelining him for the rest of the season, talk of retirement has rumbled out of Los Angeles amidst another forgettable Lakers campaign.

While his playing days are reaching their end, it’s always nice to look back and reflect on his career, and appreciate one of the greatest moments in NBA history.

Let me hear from you, fans.  Was this Kobe Bryant’s greatest performance ever?  Will we ever see another one like it?  Will it be broken, and will we all still be here to see it?


 

A look back at all of Kobe’s 81 points vs Toronto:

About The Author

NBA & MLS writer for Game 7 Network. Former host of The Half Court Heave Podcast, and was a writer for Laker Nation. LA-born, Philippine-raised, Las Vegas-living.

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