Retired Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his fingerprints all over the team’s record books, and not without good reason. The future Hall-of-Famer produced some of the most impressive scoring feats in NBA history on a regular basis during his prime, and what he did on March 18, 2007, is no different.
One game after scoring 65 points against the Portland Trail Blazers the night prior, Bryant poured in 50 on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The performance not only helped L.A. get a much-needed win, but it also made Bryant the first Laker in 44 years to score at least 50 points in back-to-back games, with Elgin Baylor being the last Lakers player to do so.
Bryant went 17-for-35 from the field in the while also contributing six rebounds, three assists and three steals in a well-rounded effort as he out-dueled Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett, who posted 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, and guard Ricky Davis, who had 33 points, six rebounds and six assists.
After the win, Bryant made the feat sound as simple as breathing in a way that only he ever could or would, via ESPN:
“I’m just being more aggressive at both ends of the floor,” he said. “At this point in the season, it’s important that I stress the sense of urgency that we have to have, and the type of emotion and energy that you have to play with.”
With the team’s bench only providing eight points total and Smush Parker (19 points) serving as Bryant’s second banana, the Lakers needed everything he could give them in the 109-102 win.
Los Angeles pulled away in the second half with a 35-25 third-quarter advantage that put the game out of reach. Bryant’s performance was the second of four straight games in which he would have at least 50 points.