Bryant Scores 62 as Lakers Top Mavs
L.A. Lakers 112, Dallas 90
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant always has wanted to be mentioned with the all-time greats. His performance against the Dallas Mavericks certainly was the stuff of legend.
Bryant scored a phenomenal 62 points - the most in the NBA in 11 years - to propel the Los Angeles Lakers to a 112-90 rout of the Mavericks.
His explosion was the most points by any player since San Antonio's David Robinson scored 71 points in pursuit of a scoring title in the 1993-94 season finale at the Los Angeles Clippers.
After scoring 43 points in Los Angeles' 109-106 triumph December 12 at Dallas, Bryant picked up right where he left off with 32 points in the first half before a historic 30-point third quarter.
In the fourth-highest scoring quarter in league history, Bryant made 7-of-13 shots and 14-of-16 free throws as he thoroughly frustrated the Mavericks, who began arguing with officials and taking hard fouls. He finished with a flourish, drilling a 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left to open a 95-61 lead.
Just as in his previous career high of 56 vs. Memphis on January 14, 2002, Bryant did not play the fourth quarter.
The superstar guard connected on 18-of-31 shots, including 4-of-10 from the arc, and 22-of-25 free throws. He had no assists, but by the second quarter, no one in the Staples Center wanted him to pass.
Through three quarters, the shellshocked Mavericks made 22-of-65 shots, including 0-of-10 3-pointers, and 17-of-24 free throws.
The outburst pushed Bryant's scoring average from 31.3 points to 32.5, still second in the league behind Iverson.
Dallas never led as it saw a three-game winning streak halted. The frustration began early in the third quarter when All-Star Dirk Nowitzki was hit in the face by Bryant's flailing arm. When the foul was called on Nowitzki, he received a technical foul for throwing his mouthpiece.
Less than three minutes later, Josh Howard was called for a flagrant foul after clotheslining a driving Bryant. Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was called for his second technical foul of the quarter and was ejected with 7:46 left. Everything fell apart for Dallas thereafter.