Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest scorers to ever step foot in the NBA, and many of his scoring explosions are still talked about to this day.
Of course his 81-point night will always go down in history. Likewise, Bryant’s 60-point night in the final game of his career was a moment that no one will ever forget. And then there was what happened at Staples Center on Dec. 20, 2005.
The Lakers faced off with the Dallas Mavericks, a team that had one of the best records in the NBA, that would finish with 60 wins, and ultimately reach the NBA Finals.
They were led by Dirk Nowitzki and had a ton of very good defensive wings such as All-Star Josh Howard, Adrian Griffin, Devin Harris, and Marquis Daniels.
And none of it mattered once Kobe Bryant got in his zone.
The Lakers dominated the Mavericks, 112-90, but the main story was Kobe, who scored 62 points and never touched the floor in the fourth quarter. In those same three quarters the entire Mavericks team scored just 61 points.
Lets repeat that: Kobe Bryant single-handedly outscored a 60-win NBA Finals team through three quarters. This is the only time since the shot clock was implemented that a player had done this.
Kobe was just unguardable, shooting 18-of-31 from the field and an impressive 22-of-25 from the free throw line. He made only four 3-pointers on the night, once again showing how to score consistently without relying on the three.
No other Laker even scored in double-figures on the night but it didn’t matter. And the best part of the game, may not have happened on the court, but on the Lakers bench.
Head coach Phil Jackson sent assistant Brian Shaw to ask Kobe if he wanted to return to the game in the fourth quarter. Kobe declined, telling Shaw that he’d have another night like this.
Just over a month later, Kobe would prove to be right as he poured 81 points on the Raptors.
Kobe’s scoring ability was truly a thing to behold and this night was truly unlike any other. Luke Walton may not agree, but Kobe’s 62 in three quarters could very well be his greatest night ever.