81. That is all you need to know about today’s throwback thursday. On January 22, 2006 Kobe Bryant had the second-greatest scoring game in NBA history. Since then no other player has come close to repeating that amazing feat.
What makes this truly even more special was the fact that the Lakers were down as much as 18 points in the third quarter, but the final period was a whole different story. In the fourth quarter Bryant scored 28 points to eventually lead his team to a 122-104 victory.
His final stat line for the game was 81 points, on 28-of-46 shooting, six rebounds, and two assists. He also helped himself by making 18-of-20 free throws. The next highest scoring player for the Lakers was Smush Parker who had 13 points.
He played almost 42 minutes, including the entire second half until a few seconds remained so he could get the proper applause he deserved.
During this time the Lakers were in a midst of a roster rehaul, which placed a heavy offensive burden on Bryant. Besides Lamar Odom, no other player on the team could quite handle the expectations Bryant envisioned for the team to be successful. That explains consecutive seasons of being ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns.
It was a game that showcased Bryant’s greatness as a scorer and further cemented Bryant as one of the best players to ever play the game. Everyone around the world was watching and how couldn’t they. They were witnessing one of the most amazing moments in sports.
Bryant made a career of wowing fans with his play, but his performance on this night, in front of his home crowd takes the trophy and it is not even close. Lakers fan shave been spoiled by great players, and while there are many to choose from that have played for the Purple and Gold, Bryant might be the greatest Laker of all-time.