Nov. 1, 2002
24 years, 70 days
The fourth game of the 2002-03 season was a classic go-prove-something night for Kobe Bryant.
Fresh off of back-to-back-to-back championships, the Lakers had dropped each of the year’s first two games as Shaquille O’Neal recovered from surgery on his right big toe.
While some questioned whether Bryant could carry the load, he took it out on the Clippers by leading a 108-93 victory by stitching together the fourth triple-double of his career.
Bryant poured in 33 points, while shooting 12-of-18 from the field and 8-of-8 at the free throw line. He also got his teammates involved, with all five starters and reserve Slava Medvedenko finishing in double figures thanks, in part, to Bryant’s 12 assists — despite O’Neal and Rick Fox (suspension) being unavailable.
But the 24-year-old Bryant’s biggest contribution may have actually been on the glass, where he collected a then career-high 15 rebounds, including five offensive boards.
The Philadelphia native’s stat-stuffing effort led to a comfortable win for the purple and gold, as they jumped out to a 14-point lead after one quarter, which expanded to 23 in the next.
The Clippers countered with their starting lineup also scoring in double-digits, which included double-doubles from Andre Miller and Elton Brand. But they had no response for Bryant, who scored or assisted on 24 of the Lakers’ 39 baskets.
Kobe performances on this day in history: