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TDIKH: March 20

March 20, 2006

27 years, 209 days

Kobe Bryant missed his first four shots of the night, but he wasn’t about to gift the Boston crowd to a miserable game.

Instead, Bryant racked up 43 points — including all of the Lakers’ final 12 — to lead Los Angeles past its rivals, 105-97.

“When the game is on the line, they put the ball in my hands,” Bryant told the media. “I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do. I don’t care if it’s 50 shots, 60 shots, five shots.”

Despite the early struggles, Bryant wasted little time getting into a groove, as he scored a dozen in the first quarter alone.

Then, it was a defensive showcase in the next period, as L.A. held the Celtics to 14 second-quarter points for a 56-40 halftime lead.

But Boston wasn’t going to roll over. Paul Pierce dropped 26 points and nine rebounds, providing a late bucket to cut the Lakers’ advantage to 99-94.

Still, Bryant was simply too much, as he responded with a layup and two free throws to seal the win.

Bryant collected five steals on the night and shot 18-of-39 despite missing all five 3-point attempts. He also provided 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Kobe performances on this day in history: