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TDIKH: January 14

Jan. 14, 2002

23 years, 144 days

Kobe Bryant sat on the bench while a sold-out Staples Center crowd chanted his name, but the damage had already been dealt.

Bryant played just 34 minutes, including none in the fourth quarter, as he unleashed a then career-high 56 points in the Lakers’ 120-81 victory over Memphis.

With Shaquille O’Neal suspended, Bryant took on the lion’s share of the offense, shooting 21-of-34 from the field and 11-of-12 on free throws.

“That was one of the most incredible things you’ll probably ever see,” Robert Horry told the media. “Words can’t describe what that cat did tonight. He was unreal.”

Horry himself had an all-around effort with 12 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks to help the Bryant outscore the Grizzlies in the middle quarters, 66-32.

Meanwhile, the team’s defense was just as impressive, as Memphis shot just 39.7 percent, while committing 25 turnovers to L.A.’s eight.

Kobe performances on this day in history: