Twelve years ago today, the NBA witnessed one of the greatest scoring performances in history when Kobe Bryant took on the Raptors in Los Angeles.
12 years ago today, @kobebryant dropped 81.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2018
Bryant had a streak of two consecutive 40-point games going into the Lakers’ matchup with the struggling Raptors, and came out firing early from the first quarter.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 22, 2018
Bryant shot 46 (!) shots from the field, but hit 28 of them. The next closest Lakers scorer had just 13 points, and ‘Black Mamba’ led all scorers by 57 points.
On this date in 2006:@kobebryant
— ESPN (@espn) January 22, 2018
The game itself was even more bizarre. The Raptors held the lead until late in the fourth quarter, and actually had double-digit leads at multiple points during the game.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) January 22, 2018
But Bryant proved to be too much, and his 81-point haul – second in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s famed 100 – propelled the Lakers to a 122-104 win.
Ironically, on the 11th anniversary of Kobe’s feat, the Lakers could manage just 73 points in total during a 49-point drubbing at the hands of the Mavericks.