Lakers Win, Kobe's Streak Stopped

SECAUCUS, N.J., March 26, 2007 -- Before the Lakers took the STAPLES Center floor on Sunday night to face the Golden State Warriors, one could feel the anticipation ... online. (Could you imagine what it was like at STAPLES?)

We had no fewer than four IM conversations going at once, all of them centered around one question: Do you think he'll get it? Do you think he'll get 50 for the fifth consecutive game?

"Pshaw, only 50?" replied the author of this intro. "I say 68."

"Bold," said one respondant. "Ha!" said two. "The way he's going, I wouldn't put anything past him," said another.

And with 17 points after one quarter, the prognostication seemed to be particularly prescient. After all, 17 times four is ...

Alas, it was a pace Kobe Bryant would not be able to sustain. Bryant, who became the only player in NBA history not named Wilt Chamberlain to score 50-plus points in four consecutive games, fell seven points shy of making it five straight games as the Lakers topped the Warriors 115-113.

With 0.6 left in the game, one hoped the Warriors would throw a lob pass to Jason Richardson near the rim to send it to OT so Kobe could have an extra five minutes to get to 50. Then again, that's how brilliant Kobe's streak has been, because it's strange to seem a little disappointed in a 43-point performance. We would have liked to have seen it continue. Witnessing history has that kind of effect on people.

Still, Kobe has scored 268 points (53.6 ppg) during the Lakers' current five-game streak, which has not only helped the purple and gold tighten their grip on the West's No. 6 seed, but has seen Bryant put himself squarely in the MVP picture. He'll get a chance to start another 50-plus streak against Memphis in L.A. on Tuesday night.

Until then, we tip our cap to Bryant for making history and for making things interesting.

Kobe Bryant: The Ultimate Scorer?
By Dave McMenamin

By scoring 60 points in a 121-119 win over Memphis on Thursday, Kobe Bryant became the first player since Michael Jordan in April of 1987 to score 50-plus points in three straight games.

At this rate, Bryant has a chance to become the greatest scorer the NBA has ever seen.

Let that marinate for a minute.

The G.O.A.T. of the NBA. Top of the totem pole. Best of the bunch.

Bryant has the opportunity to be better than Wilt with his 50-point single-season average. More accomplished than Kareem and his 38,387 total points. Even more prolific than MJ who dropped 63 points in the playoffs and caused another guy who wasn’t too shabby at scoring himself, Larry Bird, to say it was like playing against James Naismith, er, God, disguised as Michael Jordan.
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Kobe Reaction Around the Web

March 24, 2007

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports, "He'd just heard someone in the Lakers' locker room say he needed 118 points Friday against the New Orleans Hornets to tie Wilt Chamberlain for most points ever in a four-game span. He weighed the comment with a slight smile, shook his head, and buried his face back under a towel."

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  • John DeShazier of The Times-Picayune writes, "We don't have to like Kobe Bryant to love what we're seeing, don't have to acknowledge him as one of the greats to understand we're seeing a once-in-a-lifetime show, don't have to be students of the game to understand class is in session and Bryant is a professor, schooling kindergartners."

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  • Ross Siler of the L.A. Daily News makes this observation, "If Kobe Bryant can step on the court and score 50 points as if on command and play 47 minutes in the second game of a back-to-back set, then the greatest show in basketball might have a longer run than expected. "

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  • Meanwhile, Bloomberg.com's Dan Bollerman notes that "Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in National Basketball Association history to score at least 50 points in at least four straight games."

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  • Sports Illustrated.com's Kelly Dwyer has Kobe Bryant rising from the fourth to the second spot in the NBA Player Rankings. Check out he had to say:

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  • Finally, Kevin Ding writes in the Orange County Register, "If those old Kobe Bryant comparisons to Michael Jordan were too numerous and premature, perhaps this is the point in Bryant’s career when the discussions should resume in earnestness."

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  • March 23, 2007

    John DeShazier of the New Orleans Times-Picayune says the denizens of the Delta are fortunate to have the Kobe buzz in the New Orleans Hive tonight, "Because the deal we get tonight still is a pretty sweet one. First off, the extraterrestrial that is Kobe has landed and if nothing else, he's worth the price of admission a few times over."

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  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman notes that Bryant's three-game tear bloomed from the one thing Kobe despised most: losing, "The Lakers' star guard helplessly watched the Nuggets throw garbage-time alley-oops that only added embarrassment to what ultimately resulted in the team's seventh straight loss and 13th defeat in 16 games."

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  • Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times writes, "Just when you think you've seen it all from Bryant over the last year or so — an 81-point game last season, a share-the-ball mind-set this season — he jumped into history again with three consecutive games of 50 or more points. The big question that nobody can answer: Will it continue?"

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  • Meanwhile, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Sekou Smith is changing up his postseason hardware opinions, "Kobe went bonkers again (more in a minute), the NCAA Tourney games were sick, and a late night call from Tyronn Lue has forced me to rethink my MVP stance."

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  • Sure Kobe is great, but what about his teammates? Steve Springer writes in the L.A. Times, "Mychal Thompson isn't about to compare this Laker team with the squads he played on. Kobe Bryant is probably the only current Laker who could have started on the 1987 and 1988 championship squads on which Thompson played."

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  • Finally, Ross Siler writes in the Daily Breeze, "Who would have guessed when Kobe Bryant made the jump to the NBA out of Lower Merion (Pa.) High back in 1996 that he would redefine March Madness all these years later?"

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