Monday, January 23, 2006


I just finished watching a ridiculous Toronto Raptors’ game on the T.V. Down in La La Land, the Raps looked to grab a second win on their west coast road trip. Initially the Lakers came out flat and altogether uninspired. They were essentially dead in the water by half time down 13 points. “Kobe’s going to get his points” went the refrain; and sure, why not, let him have his 40 points -- just as long as the Raps walk away with the W. And so at one point in the third quarter when the Raps were up by 18, it was easy enough to say “so what if he hits a few jumpers”. But when the 17-foot jumpers turned into 25-foot three pointers, the Raps exchanging twos for Kobe threes, we had entered dangerous territory. At the end of the third Kobe collected 53 points as if the Raptor defenders were lowly J.V.

Earlier today I had joked with my brother at the absurdity and ease with which Kobe put up points. In this calendar he is averaging close to 45 points-a-game; over the last 15 games, I believe, he’s had only one twenty point game, the rest have been 30, 40, and even 50 point outings. And then we wondered whether or not Jordan had ever scored over 70. We checked the records and were surprised to know that he hadn’t (69), and then joked again that Kobe would do it sooner or later considering the season he was having. The irony could not go unnoticed especially and because five minutes into the fourth quarter Kobe had 60 and the game was effectively done -- the Raptors looking passive and impotent. I’m a big Bosh fan, so it was a bit problematic to see him struggle yet at the same time cheer Kobe on. But I did nonetheless. The Raptors, like everyone else enjoying the game, sat back and watched history.

Bryant finished the game with 81 points, the second highest single game point total, behind only Chamberlain’s historic 100. To put things into perspective, something that should embarrass the Raptors, Kobe out scored them 55 to 41 in the second half. Asked about the unenviable task of guarding Kobe Bryant earlier that night, Morris Peterson (Mo-Pete!) reflected thusly: “A player like that is going to get his points.” Clearly Mo-Pete hadn’t imagined anywhere near that many.

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