Feb. 18, 2003
24 years, 179 days
Despite playing on a sore knee, Kobe Bryant was still clearly the greatest threat on the floor, providing nearly half of his team’s scoring by exploding for 52 points in the Lakers’ 106-99 double-overtime win over Houston.
Bryant played a career-high 54 minutes but still saved his best efforts for the very end. He scored all nine of Los Angeles’ points in the first overtime and then added eight more in the second extra period.
The star was hot from the very beginning of his sixth straight game of 40-plus points, scoring 14 in the first quarter alone.
No other Laker surpassed 15 points, as Shaquille O’Neal sat out with knee and toe injuries.
Meanwhile, rookie Yao Ming (24 points, 14 rebound) posed the greatest threat against the Lakers, but fouled out in the first overtime.
“I figured we could be a little more relaxed without (O’Neal) on the court,” Yao told reporters through an interpreter. “Maybe next time Kobe won’t play.”
Bryant saved the Lakers in the first overtime by tying the game with a six-foot shot with just 19.7 seconds left. Up by one with 3:33 left in double overtime, Bryant’s layup sparked an 11-2 run to down the Rockets.
While Bryant was deadly with his shot by going 19-of-38 from the field and hitting all 11 free throw attempts, he still managed to get the rest of his game going by finishing with eight rebounds, seven assists and three blocks.
Kobe performances on this day in history: