In the mid-2000s Kobe Bryant was at the peak of his powers. He was the best player in the NBA, unstoppable offensively and a lockdown defender who practically single-handedly carried the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs.
The 2006-07 season was a frustrating one that saw the Lakers barely make the playoffs at 42-40, but that doesn’t mean Kobe didn’t put on an amazing show along the way. And on Dec. 15, 2006, Kobe had one of his tougher matchups against the Houston Rockets.
They were one of the NBA’s best defensive teams and boasted one of the top perimeter defenders in Shane Battier, along with the ultimate rim protector in Yao Ming.
So what does Kobe do? Drop 53 points and nearly finished with a triple-double in a Lakers’ 112-101 victory in double overtime.
Kobe added 10 rebounds and eight assists to go along with his scoring barrage and had a huge dunk over Yao to kick off the Lakers’ 9-0 run to begin the second overtime. The Lakers had only two other players in double-figures, Smush Parker who had 17 points and Brian Cook who had 10 off the bench.
Not to be outdone, Yao had an outstanding night himself finishing with 35 points, 15 rebounds, and eight blocks, but it just wasn’t enough in the end.
Kobe was just unstoppable at this time and put on scoring exploits like this every month it seemed. In fact, just two weeks later he would top this night with a 58 point night in a triple-overtime loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
The Lakers weren’t championship contenders during this time, but Kobe and his brilliance made the team worth watching every night if for no other reason than, you never knew if Kobe was going to have one of those nights where all you could do was watch in awe.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB