TDIKH: November 15

Nov. 15, 2002 24 years, 84 days

Not even a broken tooth and bloody mouth were going to prevent Kobe Bryant from leading the Lakers to victory on this night.

Facing a potential five-game losing streak, Bryant fueled the purple and gold past Golden State, 96-89, with both his scoring and grit, as he dropped 45 points despite a collision with future Laker Antawn Jamison.

After Jason Richardson hit a 3-pointer for the Warriors with 4.2 seconds left, Bryant set a pick on the ensuing inbounds pass. The result was Jamison’s forehead connecting with Bryant’s mouth, which would later require stitches.

“I felt my tooth chip in my mouth,” Bryant told the media after the game. “The other tooth shifted back, so it was kind of behind another one. But the trainer popped it back in place.”

Nonetheless, Bryant — who later joked that he should’ve been a boxer — scored four points in overtime, while Robert Horry provided the other seven to push L.A. past Golden State in an 11-4 extra period.

With Shaquille O’Neal still recovering from surgery on his big toe, Bryant assumed the lion’s share of the offense. Devean George, Mark Madsen and Soumalia Samake were out as well, leaving Bryant to take 40 shots (making 18), while no other Laker scored more than 12 points.

Bryant also finished with four assists, three steals and an 8-of-10 mark on free throws to fend off three Warriors with double-doubles, including Jamison (25 points, 10 rebounds).

From the outset, Bryant was the clear engine of the offense, pouring in 15 first-quarter points. But he did get help from his teammates, as Samaki Walker and Rick Fox each grabbed 14 rebounds, while the Lakers held Golden State to 36.6 percent shooting from the field, including a 1-of-8 clip in overtime.

Kobe performances on this day in history: