Kobe Versus The NBA
Across his 20-year, 1,566-game career, Kobe Bryant has produced some of the most legendary moments in Lakers — and NBA — history. No team truly avoided the strike of the Black Mamba, who had at least one extraordinary triumph over each other franchise.
Game-Winner to Reach .500Lakers vs. Hawks - March 3, 2013
A season that had begun with championship expectations quickly soured for the Lakers, who were in danger of missing the playoffs despite a roster featuring perennial All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.After being stuck with a losing record for nearly the entirety of the season's first four months, the Lakers finally had a chance to reach .500 at home against Atlanta. In his first game since adopting the nickname "Vino," Bryant's 34-point performance proved worthy of the comparison to fine wine. Bryant was a one-man offense in the final two minutes, including when he got the ball on L.A.'s final possession. With 9.0 seconds left and down by one, he blew past big man Al Horford and took it to the hoop, where he was met by a challenging Josh Smith. Despite Smith altering Bryant's attempt with his length, the star Laker managed to adjust mid-air, kissing it off the top of the glass for a 98-97 victory.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Atlanta Hawks:
Overall Record: 18-11 | Playoff Record: 0-0
Game 7 RevengeLakers vs. Celtics - June 17, 2010
Just two years earlier, Bryant left the TD Garden floor in tears after the rival Boston Celtics had pounded his Lakers by 39 points in Game 6 to win the NBA Finals.
Bryant considered that moment one of the turning points of his career and, in 2010, had the chance to capture redemption. After he led the Lakers to victory with 26 points in Game 6 of that year's Finals, Boston was determined to shut down Bryant in the winner-take-all Game 7.
The Celtics threw an array of defensive looks at Bryant, including plenty of double-teams, as the Lakers' leader scored 23 points on just 6-of-24 shooting. While Bryant's shots weren't particularly pretty, his grit was on full display. The eventual Finals MVP kept attacking the teeth of the defense, shooting 11-of-15 at the foul line, while hustling for 15 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
Bryant was also there when his team needed him most, as the Lakers entered the fourth quarter down by four. He provided 10 points in that final period, including a pair of free throws to take the lead for good and secure victory over Los Angeles' greatest rivals.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Boston Celtics:
Overall Record: 24-20 | Playoff Record: 6-7
Fourth-Quarter Finals TakeoverLakers vs. Nets - June 9, 2002
The Lakers may have swept New Jersey to win the 2002 championship, but three of the contests came down to the very end, including Game 3 when the teams entered the fourth quarter locked in a 78-point tie.
New Jersey quickly stole the advantage, building its lead to as many as seven. However, the Lakers fought back and held a two-point edge with 19.1 seconds remaining. Then Bryant stepped up. He narrowly avoided turning the ball over when hit by a double team, then spun into the paint and hoisted a bucket to seal the victory.
Bryant finished the night by scoring a dozen of his 36 points in the fourth quarter alone, while Shaquille O'Neal racked up 35 points and 11 rebounds to push the Nets to the brink of elimination.
Kobe Bryant vs. The New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets:
Overall Record: 24-7 | Playoff Record: 4-0
Buzzer-Beating RedemptionLakers vs. Hornets - February 22, 2002
Just three days earlier, Bryant had glory snatched from him, as his game-winning shot against Boston was waved off for being a fraction of a second after the buzzer.
This time, Bryant wasn't about to make the same mistake. He entered the fourth quarter with only 10 points but finished the game with 21, while also collecting nine rebounds and six assists.
He saved his top moment for last with time running out and the game tied at 94. Bryant took the ball right and pump-faked his defender, George Lynch, giving him just enough space to drain the buzzer-beating fadeaway.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats:
Overall Record: 19-12 | Playoff Record: 0-0
Dueling JordanLakers vs. Bulls - December 17, 1997
At just 19 years old, Bryant set out to prove himself against arguably the greatest player in NBA history.
Matched up against his childhood idol, Michael Jordan, Bryant nonetheless racked up 33 points by shooting 12-of-20 from the field. Meanwhile, the reigning NBA Finals MVP taught the teenager a few lessons on the other end by putting up 36 points on a 12-of-22 clip.
Despite Bryant tallying his young career-high, the Lakers were largely uncompetitive, as none of his teammates scored more than 15 points in their 104-83 loss.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Chicago Bulls:
Overall Record: 18-13 | Playoff Record: 0-0
17 DimesLakers vs. Cavaliers - January 15, 2015
Just days before a torn rotator cuff would cost Bryant the remainder of his second-to-last season, he went toe-to-toe with his friend, and fellow NBA giant, LeBron James.
Facing the eventual Eastern Conference champions, Bryant kept the game within reach by directing the Lakers' offense to the tune of a career-high 17 assists. He also tallied 19 points, including a pair of free throws with 44 seconds left to cut the Cavaliers' lead to four.
Bryant was a magician with the ball, whipping it behind the back, through defenders, across the court and more. However, James kept a steady hand for Cleveland, leading a 109-102 victory with 36 points.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Cleveland Cavaliers:
Overall Record: 17-17 | Playoff Record: 0-0
62 In Three QuartersLakers vs. Mavericks - December 20, 2005
Bryant made a team that would go on to play in the NBA Finals look more like a JV squad, as he singlehandedly outscored Dallas through three quarters, 62-61.
A self-described "angry" Bryant did not play in the fourth quarter, shooting 18-of-31 from the field and 22-of-25 on free throws in only 33 minutes. Despite being greeted by every type of defense — from double-teams to backcourt traps to zones — Bryant nonetheless racked up his then-career-high.
He scored a franchise-record 30 points in the third quarter alone, signing off on one last 3-pointer with four seconds left. No other Laker scored double figures that night, and none had to, as the purple and gold cruised to a 112-90 win.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Dallas Mavericks:
Overall Record: 42-22 | Playoff Record: 0-4
Battle of the ScorersLakers vs. Nuggets - May 19, 2009
The 2009 Western Conference Finals was a true clash of titans, as Kobe Bryant averaged 34.0 points, while Carmelo Anthony countered with 27.5. The two set the tone early in a Game 1 showdown.
Bryant erupted for 40 points, despite needing his right ring finger popped back into place, while Anthony answered with 39 of his own. The Nugget actually struck first, scoring 16 in the first quarter alone. However, Bryant, per usual, saved his best work for the end.
The star Laker racked up 18 points in the fourth quarter, beginning his final act with the game tied at 99. From there, he continued to draw contact and hit six free throws in the last 30 seconds to push the Lakers to a 105-103 win.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Denver Nuggets:
Overall Record: 54-29 | Playoff Record: 12-5
Willing a Finals WinLakers vs. Pistons - June 8, 2004
With Game 2 of the 2004 NBA Finals on the line, Bryant fired what he then called "the biggest shot I've hit in my career." He rose over his former Philadelphia high school rival, Richard Hamilton, and sunk a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the contest up at 89, forcing overtime.
From there, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal had all the momentum they needed, combining to score all 10 of the Lakers' overtime points, while holding Detroit to only two.
Bryant finished the night with 33 points (14-of-27) and seven assists, unknowingly saving L.A. from a potential sweep. Despite he and O'Neal being flanked by fellow future Hall of Famers Gary Payton and Karl Malone, Bryant and co. were upset by the Pistons, who took the title in five games.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Detroit Pistons:
Overall Record: 23-15 | Playoff Record: 1-4
The Achilles GameLakers vs. Warriors - April 12, 2013
In perhaps the toughest moment of his career, Bryant stood at the free throw line — moments after tearing his left Achilles tendon — and calmly sunk a pair of free throws to tie a crucial game with three minutes left.
The tear ended Bryant's season and began a stretch of injuries that would plague the rest of his career, but for that moment he wouldn't let it get the best of him, cashing those foul shots toward a 118-116 win that kept the Lakers one game ahead of Utah for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.
After playing 48 minutes the game before, Bryant's body had finally been pushed too far, but not before putting up 34 points - including a dozen in the fourth - to overcome Stephen Curry's 47-point explosion in a duel between the present and future faces of the NBA.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Golden State Warriors:
Overall Record: 51-16 | Playoff Record: 0-0
Seven-Game ShootoutLakers vs. Rockets - May 6, 2009
A battle between future teammates reached flaming levels of intensity, as Bryant dropped 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting against Houston, which was led by Ron Artest, who was ejected after a fourth-quarter altercation with Bryant.
Arrest led the Rockets — who took Game 1 in Los Angeles days before — with 25 points, but Bryant came out firing with 15 points in the first quarter alone. Covered all night long by Artest's fellow defensive specialist, Shane Battier, Bryant still got all the buckets he wanted.
He hit a variety of difficult shots, including via an off-the-backboard pass to himself. After an and-1 jumper over Battier, he even shook his head and said, "He can't guard me." The Lakers went on to win the Western Conference Finals in seven games, moving to the doorstep of Bryant's first title without Shaquille O'Neal.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Houston Rockets:
Overall Record: 46-31 | Playoff Record: 11-5
Overtime HeroLakers vs. Pacers - June 14, 2000
An ankle injury had caused Bryant to miss most of Games 2 and 3 of the 2000 NBA Finals, but he was back with vengeance on his mind for the fourth contest in Indiana.
A dominant Shaquille O'Neal (36 points, 21 rebounds) fouled out with about three minutes left in overtime, but Bryant, who finished with 28 points, steered the way to victory. He hit all four of his attempts in the extra period, saving his best for L.A.'s final possession.
Down 119-118, Brian Shaw missed the go-ahead shot, but Bryant swooped in, collected the offensive rebound and provided an over-the-shoulder put-back with 5.9 seconds to prevent the Pacers from tying up the series. Five days later, the Lakers knocked off Indiana in Game 6 for Bryant's first of five titles.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Indiana Pacers:
Overall Record: 24-15 | Playoff Record: 4-1
50 and Game-WinnerLakers vs. Clippers - January 7, 2006
With the clock ticking down to 15 seconds left and his team trailing by one, Bryant was hit by a double-team that he narrowly avoided. He took the ball into the paint but two more Clippers were waiting. Yet that was no matter, as he twisted mid-air and kissed the go-ahead bucket off the glass.
Bryant entered halftime with only 10 points, but the Clippers were in for a storm from there. He finished the night with 50 points on 17-of-41 shooting, knocking down seven 3-pointers along the way.
The eventual scoring champion racked up 22 points in the fourth quarter alone, including all of the Lakers' first 11 of the final period. He also managed to tally eight rebounds and eight assists in the 112-109 win.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Los Angeles Clippers:
Overall Record: 47-22 | Playoff Record: 0-0
First Triple-DoubleLakers vs. Grizzlies - January 15, 2001
At 22 years old, Bryant flashed every part of his skill set against the then-Vancouver Grizzlies, notching the first triple-double of his career. He provided 26 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Lakers needed all of it to top their guests in overtime, 113-112.
Down 95-92 with four minutes remaining, Bryant went to the scoring portion of his arsenal, providing Los Angeles' last eight points of regulation. He added four more in overtime, and his fellow star, Shaquille O'Neal, finished it off.
After Robert Horry's game-winning attempt bounced off the rim, O'Neal — who finished with 31 points and 15 rebounds — grabbed the ball and banked it in at the buzzer for victory.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies:
Overall Record: 44-23 | Playoff Record: 0-0
Winner Over WadeLakers vs. Heat - December 4, 2009
The plan was originally to take it to the rim, but that derailed when Bryant slipped while receiving the inbound pass. Instead, what followed was what he called "the luckiest shot I've ever taken."
Down by two while draped by Dwyane Wade with the clock running out, Bryant hoisted up a straightaway 3-pointer that hit squarely on the backboard and through the hoop for a 108-107 victory. The winning shot capped off an explosive fourth quarter in which Bryant scored 17 of L.A.'s 32 points.
It also concluded a classic duel between two of the generation's best shooting guards, as Bryant provided 33 points on a 12-of-25 clip, while Wade racked up 26 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Miami Heat:
Overall Record: 16-17 | Playoff Record: 0-0
Overtime Buzzer-BeaterLakers vs. Bucks - December 16, 2009
The day after breaking his right index finger, Bryant adjusted his grip just in time to provide the Lakers a dramatic victory. Down by six with 78 seconds left in overtime, Bryant scored the game's final seven points, including a buzzer-beater over Charlie Bell.
Bryant briefly backed his defender down from mid-range before cashing a turnaround jumper that earned a roar from the largely pro-Lakers crowd in Milwaukee.
The last-second shot ended a strong finish for Bryant, who only had 12 points at halftime. He ended the night with 39 after shooting 13-of-28 from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 at the free throw line, while Pau Gasol collected 26 points and a career-high 22 rebounds.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Milwaukee Bucks:
Overall Record: 24-8 | Playoff Record: 0-0
21 Straight WinsLakers vs. Timberwolves - March 27, 2013
The last chapter of a dominant run came in dramatic fashion for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, who escaped Minneapolis with a 120-117 win — their 22nd straight against the Timberwolves.
Starting at small forward for the first time since losing Metta World Peace for the season, Bryant — who was part of all but one of those victories — dropped 31 points (12-of-21) and seven assists in the Lakers' former hometown.
He rolled off 16 points in Los Angeles' 41-point explosion in the third quarter, but his best shot came at the end. Minnesota had used a 12-3 run to cut the Lakers' lead to three with 48 seconds remaining when Bryant sunk a 22-foot pull-up and gave his opponent a finger wag while heading back the other way.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Minnesota Timberwolves:
Overall Record: 55-21 | Playoff Record: 8-4
Fourth 50 In a RowLakers vs. Hornets - March 23, 2007
It was a night that capped off one of the most dominant scoring stretches in NBA history. From finger rolls to off-the-glass fadeaways and everything in between, Bryant racked up 50 points for the fourth consecutive game — joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to ever do so.
Bryant tied Chamberlain's mark from 45 years earlier by hitting exactly 50 against the team then known as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, shooting 16-of-29 from the field and draining all 16 of his free throw attempts.
He got the Lakers' victory going early with 27 points in the first half, then took it up a notch with 17 in the third quarter alone. Bryant's previous three outings netted 65, 50 and 60 points, respectively.
Kobe Bryant vs. The New Orleans Hornets/New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets/New Orleans Pelicans:
Overall Record: 32-15 | Playoff Record: 4-2
MSG Scoring RecordLakers vs. Knicks - February 2, 2009
In a performance so electrifying that the New York City fans showered him with "MVP!" chants, Bryant exploded for a then-arena record 61 points at Madison Square Garden.
Playing only 37 minutes, Bryant was a one-man fireball, sinking 19-of-31 from the field and a perfect 20-of-20 at the foul line. In the Lakers' first game since losing an injured Andrew Bynum for an extended amount of time, Bryant provided all the offense necessary by breaking Bernard King's 24-year-old scoring mark.
Whether charging through defenders in the paint or striking from long distance, Bryant was firing the entire night, scoring 34 points in the first half alone. But he spared plenty for the finale, adding 15 more in the fourth to pave L.A.'s 126-117 win.
Kobe Bryant vs. The New York Knicks:
Overall Record: 23-11 | Playoff Record: 0-0
Final Playoff GameLakers vs. Thunder - May 21, 2012
Nobody could have predicted that this would be Bryant's final postseason appearance, but the 33-year-old did go out in a blaze during the Lakers' Game 5 loss to Oklahoma City in the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals.
Though the Lakers fell, 106-90, Bryant racked up 42 points on an 18-of-33 clip that began by him shouldering his team's offense in the first quarter, scoring 15 of L.A.'s 21 points. Playing all but one minute, Bryant was in prime form, hitting from all over and even throwing down a reverse slam.
Despite a performance that saw Bryant add 15 more in the third quarter, the Lakers allowed an 8-0 Thunder run in his brief time on the bench and were unable to overcome 53 combined points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Oklahoma City Thunder:
Overall Record: 15-18 | Playoff Record: 5-6
Champs AgainLakers vs. Magic - June 14, 2009
Seven years after the last title of the Lakers' three-peat era, Bryant was back on top once again. This time without Shaquille O'Neal, the 30-year-old averaged 32.4 points and 7.4 assists to earn NBA Finals MVP honors while collecting his fourth ring.
Bryant provided a platter of everything in Los Angeles' 99-86 Game 5 clincher over Orlando, racking up 30 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and four blocks. Perhaps his greatest moment of the series came in the third quarter when he went up for a layup, was met at the rim by Dwight Howard, then kissed in a shot on the way back down.
It was a moment of redemption for Bryant and co., who had lost in the Finals to Boston the year before. This time, the year ended in triumph after a quick series that nonetheless required two overtime victories.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Orlando Magic:
Overall Record: 22-12 | Playoff Record: 4-1
KB and Shaq vs. AILakers vs. 76ers - June 10, 2001
It was a far from a hero's welcome for Bryant in his hometown of Philadelphia, as 76ers fans bombarded him with boos during pregame introductions for Game 3 of the 2001 NBA Finals. He was jeered nearly every time he touched the ball, which was often as he played all 48 minutes, scoring 32 points along the way.
Shaquille O'Neal provided 30 points and 12 rebounds to help Bryant duel Allen Iverson, who piled up 35 points and 12 rebounds. Bryant torched the Sixers in the second quarter for 16 points, hitting eight straight shots at one point.
He was also crucial after O'Neal and Derek Fisher fouled out late. Iverson cut the Lakers' lead to one with two minutes left before Bryant followed a Rick Fox free throw with a key 22-foot bucket. Robert Horry scored the team's final seven points to help seal a 96-91 victory on the way to finishing the year with a championship and an unprecedented 16-1 postseason record.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Philadelphia 76ers:
Overall Record: 22-15 | Playoff Record: 4-1
Twin Buzzer-BeatersLakers vs. Suns - April 30, 2006
Few players have provided as many iconic playoff moments as Bryant, who even produced two in the same game.
Down by two at the end of regulation during Game 4 of the 2006 Western Conference opening round, Smush Parker stole the ball from Steve Nash and gave it to Bryant who Eurostepped near the rim to free himself for the tying layup with 0.7 seconds left. Staples Center erupted, but it wasn't even his greatest play of the night.
With the seventh-seeded Lakers trailing the No. 2 seed Suns by one in overtime, Luke Walton won a jump ball against Nash, and Bryant stepped up from there. He took the ball to the right elbow, where he pulled up and shot over two defenders, knocking down the winning shot.
Bryant finished the 99-98 win with 24 points (9-of-14) and eight assists, despite dealing with foul trouble for the entire contest. His heroics gave L.A. a 3-1 series lead, but Phoenix was able to come back and win in seven games.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Phoenix Suns:
Overall Record: 50-37 | Playoff Record: 12-11
The Alley-OopLakers vs. Trail Blazers - June 4, 2000
The biggest comeback in playoff history was iced by one of the franchise's most iconic plays. The Lakers trailed Portland by 15 with about 10 minutes remaining in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals before proving that they were the best team in the league.
Led by Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers rattled off 15 unanswered points, holding the Trail Blazers scoreless on 10 straight possessions. After a bit of back-and-forth action, Bryant struck from mid-range to take an 83-79 lead with a minute left. Portland once again came up empty, as the Lakers responded with an unforgettable moment.
Bryant crossed over Scottie Pippen on the other end, attacked the paint, then threw a lob up to O'Neal, who hammered down the one-handed alley-oop. Minutes later, Bryant — who exploded for 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks — sealed an 89-84 win that set him four wins away from his first title.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Portland Trail Blazers:
Overall Record: 46-37 | Playoff Record: 16-5
Grinding Out Game 7Lakers vs. Kings - June 2, 2002
A heavyweight-fight series went the distance between two teams that shared little love for one another, as the Lakers hit the floor in Sacramento for Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
Of course, the winner-take-all finale was just as tense as the six games before it, with Bryant (30 points, 10 rebounds) and Shaquille O'Neal (35 points, 13 rebounds) leading four Lakers who finished with double-doubles.
Bryant also added seven assists while playing 52 of the 53 minutes in the overtime contest. Down 98-97 with 22.3 seconds left, he hit a pair of go-ahead free throws, though the Kings eventually tied it back up. However, the Lakers held their rivals scoreless in the final two minutes of the extra period to book another trip to the NBA Finals, where they completed their three-peat.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Sacramento Kings:
Overall Record: 53-27 | Playoff Record: 11-5
Setting Up the SweepLakers vs. Spurs - May 19, 2001
San Antonio may have finished the regular season with the NBA's best record, but the Lakers set out to prove that they were the league's top team. Second-seeded Los Angeles strutted into the Alamodome and topped the Spurs, 104-90, behind 45 points from Bryant.
The 22-year-old made it a double-double by collecting 10 rebounds while only sitting one minute. Bryant was hot all night long, hitting 19-of-35, though he saved his best for a 28-point second-half eruption.
Behind Bryant — who averaged 33.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists while shooting 51.4 percent — the Lakers left no doubt as to which team was better, sweeping the Spurs to improve their postseason record to a perfect 12-0 before capturing their second-straight championship.
Kobe Bryant vs. The San Antonio Spurs:
Overall Record: 43-48 | Playoff Record: 18-12
A Dozen TriplesLakers vs. SuperSonics - January 7, 2003
In the history of basketball, no player has gotten hotter from deep than Bryant did against Seattle, hitting an NBA-record 12 3-pointers on his way to 45 points and a 119-98 victory.
Bryant splashed four times as many triples as the entire SuperSonics roster, even though he didn't make any until midway through the second quarter. From there he was an inferno, drilling 10 straight shots — nine of which were from downtown.
The 24-year-old hadn't hit more than five treys in one game before his record night, accomplishing the feat on 18 attempts. Each of his makes came at the top of the arc, prompting head coach Phil Jackson to call it, "perhaps the greatest shooting streak I have ever seen in my life."
Kobe Bryant vs. The Seattle SuperSonics:
Overall Record: 27-19 | Playoff Record: 2-1
Eighty-OneLakers vs. Raptors - January 22, 2006
It was a scoring spree so sensational that only one man had ever done it before, and nobody has come close to since. Bryant was volcanically hot from all across the floor, piling up 81 points against the Raptors for the second-highest total in NBA history.
Just one month after Toronto held him to a season-low 11 points, Bryant torched the Raptors like no player has since Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962.
The Lakers actually trailed by 18 in the third quarter, but Bryant ignited from there, scoring 27 points in that frame. He followed up by producing 28 more in the fourth before leaving to a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd.
In total, Bryant's legendary night saw him shoot 28-of-46 from the field, including 7-of-13 on 3-pointers, plus 18-of-20 at the free throw line in a 122-104 comeback victory for the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Toronto Raptors:
Overall Record: 24-9 | Playoff Record: 0-0
The Grandest FinaleLakers vs. Jazz - April 13, 2016
The final game of an unforgettable career called for an unbelievable night. After 20 years in the NBA, Bryant went out with an inferno, dropping 60 points — the most by any player in the league that season — to lead the Lakers to a 101-96 victory in his finale.
An all-chips-in Bryant hoisted 50 shots, making 22 of them. He also went 6-of-21 from 3-point range and 10-of-12 on free throws. Despite missing his first five attempts, Bryant had plenty left for the roaring Staples Center crowd, which witnessed him score 38 points in the second half, including 23 in the last quarter of his career.
In fact, the Lakers trailed by 10 with only 2:16 left before Bryant penned an unfathomable conclusion to his tenure in purple and gold. He scored the game's next 13 points by himself thanks to a blend of jumpers, free throws and a layup.
Shortly after his 20-foot pull-up gave L.A. the lead for good, he hit a pair of foul shots to reach 60 and then fired a fullcourt pass to Jordan Clarkson, icing victory on his final play.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Utah Jazz:
Overall Record: 47-37 | Playoff Record: 13-11
55 Against MJLakers vs. Wizards - March 28, 2003
In his final matchup with his childhood idol, Bryant made sure to put his best on display against Michael Jordan one last time. The 24-year-old exploded for 55 points — including 42 of Los Angeles' 59 in the first half — to lead the Lakers past Washington, 108-94.
The Wizards jumped out to a 22-15 lead before Bryant reached a level that only greats like he and Jordan could get to. He scored L.A.'s next 23 points, hitting nine straight shots, to turn it into a three-point Lakers advantage.
He and Jordan shared a moment late in the third when Bryant was called for a charge against the six-time champion. After throwing mock punches at Jordan, Bryant helped his hero off the floor as both laughed. Bryant shot 15-of-29 from the field, including a blistering 9-of-13 on 3-pointers. He also went 16-of-18 at the foul line, while Jordan led Washington with 23 points.
Kobe Bryant vs. The Washington Bullets/Wizards:
Overall Record: 21-11 | Playoff Record: 0-0