Kobe Bryant’s 81 Point Game 1/22/2006

On a night that saw the Lakers rally to take a 3-1 series  lead on the Nuggets, I found myself looking at some vintage Kobe Bryant highlights. My favorite: his 81 point barrage against the Toronto Raptors on January 22th, 2006. And since I don't have much else to talk about, I thought I'd share this with you.

I didn't watch this game when it happened. I remember that day so well though, in fact it was one of the greatest sports days of my life. The Seattle Seahawks throttled the Carolina Panthers to win their first and only NFC title and advanced to The Super Bowl. I witnessed it with Rika, my brother Big Ed, and my cousin Brenna. It's a day Seattle sports fans will never forget because that's as close as we've gotten to a championship in my 31 years of existence. No I don't count the Storm's WNBA titles as a championship, sorry.

After the Seahawks game was over I immediately went to ESPN to gloat, and what was I greeted with? A big fucking picture of Kobe, who I hated at the time (big fan now tho). I felt anger right away, but then I read the big headline of 81. After I realized what it meant, I shook my head and thought to myself "ok, you win this time Kobe."

He was on a legendary tear going in, averaging 40.6 over his previous 12 games. He had scored 61 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks on January 20th. He ended up the 2005/06 season averaging 35.4 point per game, which was the highest since some dude named Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 in 1986/87.

Yet, somehow he wasn't the league MVP that year, Steve Nash won his second straight. What I remember is that people thought Kobe was being a ballhog, but shit, he averaged 4.5 assists that year. In comparison, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russel Westbrook only dished out 4.3 this year. Is he a ballhog? Not if Kevin Durant still gets enough touches to lead the lead in scoring for a third straight season, in my opinion.

For the game he made a ridiculous 28 out of 46 shots, including 7 for 13 on three pointers, and also hit 18 out of 20 free throws. He also had his streak of straight free throws snapped, but what did he do about it? Immediately got the ball back and scored. It was that kind of night for him.