TDIKH: February 29

Feb. 29, 2012

25 years, 189 days

The Masked Mamba made his debut and let Minnesota know that a broken nose didn’t make him any less dangerous.

Bryant — who had also received a concussion in the All-Star Game on a hard foul from Dwyane Wade — racked up 31 points to lead Los Angeles to victory in its first game back from the break.

“Kobe is a special human being,” head coach Mike Brown told reporters. “I don’t have answers for him. I don’t know what he’s made of. He’s just different. His body reacts different.”

Bryant claimed that the protective mask was uncomfortable, saying it felt like “a sauna on my face,” but it didn’t slow him down in the 104-85 win — L.A.’s 17th straight over the Timberwolves.

After leading by six at halftime, the Lakers stormed out of the locker room by immediately rattling off nine unanswered points. Bryant scored 14 points in the third quarter alone, as the Lakers outscored their visitors, 33-15.

While Bryant also notched eight assists and seven rebounds to lead a Lakers offense that recorded 30 assists on 41 baskets, Minnesota had no such cohesion.

With All-Star Kevin Love out due to illness, no Wolf reached 15 points.

Kobe performances on this day in history: