Kobe Bryant's 81-point game was a "Where were you?" sports event.
(Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)

Playoffs 2006 have now captured our full attention, but it wouldn't be fair to simply put the 2005-06 NBA regular season in the scrapbook. We present 10 themes and moments that -- to this point -- have defined a truly memorable campaign.

Eighty-One Reasons to Love Him
By Chris Rosenbluth

"Under normal circumstances, it would seem impossible to highlight one instance when Kobe Bryant's star shone the brightest this season. ... The circumstances of a Jan. 22 meeting with the Toronto Raptors, however, were anything but normal."  Read More >>

'We've Still Got New Orleans on Our Jerseys'
By Michael Levine

"Coming off an 18-64 campaign, the New Orleans Hornets were lucky enough to land Chris Paul with the fourth pick in NBA Draft 2005. Then just two months later, they were forced to leave their home after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Such was the dichotomy that defined the Hornets' season, a season in which they called two cities home."

By Chris Bubeck

"After being selected just four picks apart in NBA Draft 2003, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will always be linked. If the show they put on April 1 is any indication, the duo will be remembered in the same way that greats such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird or Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell are -- outstanding players who defined a generation with their rivalry."  Read More >>

The Storied Six
By Dave McMenamin

"Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller could be summed up as a dunker, a rebounder, a leader, a pick-and-roller, a defensive specialist and a 3-point shooter, respectively, but that would do a disservice to these all-time greats."

Avery Puts the 'D' in Dallas
By Jon Palmieri

"The Dallas Mavericks were already headed toward their fifth straight 50-win season when Avery Johnson became their full-time head coach on March 19, 2005. Despite that success, Johnson saw a team in need of a change in philosophy and style."  Read More >>

Eclipsing Expectations Again
By Stefan Swiat

"When it was known that superstar Amarι Stoudemire would be lost for most of this season, most experts predicted that Phoenix would fall off a bit from their NBA-best 62 wins of 2004-05. But reigning MVP Steve Nash had other thoughts."  Read More >>

Houston, We Had Serious Liftoff
By Chris Rosenbluth

"One day, many years from now, long after LeBron James’ career runs its expected course and leads him into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, hoop heads across the globe will look back on one event as the day LeBron introduced himself to the basketball world."  Read More >>

Turbo Pistons
By Michael Levine

"Some pundits predicted that the Pistons would slip a bit this season without Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown at the helm. That couldn’t have been further from what has transpired."  Read More >>

Duel in the Desert
By Chris Bubeck

"The Phoenix Suns had already seen their fair share of high-scoring multiple-overtime games when a Jan. 22 meeting with the Seattle SuperSonics rolled around. But there was nothing ordinary about this contest."  Read More >>

The Other L.A. Story
By Dave McMenamin

"It could be said the Clippers got their first win of the 2005-‘06 season way back on June 27, 2001, when the franchise dealt Brian Skinner and the draft rights to Tyson Chandler to the Chicago Bulls for the night-in, night-out 20-and-10 services of Elton Brand.  Read More >>

(Along with the 10 above, other stories making a mark this season included the tragic passing of Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier, the Ron Artest-Peja Stojakovic trade, Larry Brown's tough first season in New York, the New Jersey's Nets' pair of double-digit win streaks, and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant publicly closing the book on any rift that may have existed between the ex-teammates with a hug on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.)

• April 12: Clippers' revival
• April 13: Sonics-Suns 2OT classic
• April 14: Pistons' 37-5 start
• April 15: All-Star weekend
• April 16: Suns shine on
• April 17: Defense in Dallas
• April 18: Big year for legends
• April 19: LeBron vs. D-Wade
• April 20: Hornets play on
• April 21: Kobe scores 81

Fans in New Orleans welcomed back their team for three games.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images/NBAE

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were awesome in an April 1 encounter.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Reigning MVP Steve Nash was arguably even more valuable in '05-'06.
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

New coach, no problem: The Pistons zoomed to the NBA's best record.
D. Lippitt/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images