TDIKH: December 15

Dec. 15, 2006

28 years, 114 days

In a grueling battle that needed two overtime periods to be settled, Kobe Bryant emerged with 53 points and a 112-101 Lakers victory.

Yao Ming gave the Lakers all they could handle with 35 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks, but the lasting image of the night was Bryant’s driving dunk over the 7-foot-6 Rocket to open double overtime.

The Lakers opened the second extra period on a 9-0 run, and Bryant provided seven points in the five-minute span for the victory.

“We had a couple baskets here and there from other guys as we went along, but I had to go to Kobe to get accomplished what we had to do in a win,” head coach Phil Jackson told the media.

The Lakers trailed by as many as 21 points, but Bryant kept them alive by shooting 17-of-38 from the field, while hitting five 3-pointers and 14 of his 16 free throw attempts.

He also collected 10 rebounds and eight assists, while playing a crucial role in L.A.’s fourth-quarter comeback.

Houston led by seven with 3:33 left in regulation, but the Lakers went on an 11-2 run thanks in part to six points from Bryant.

The Lakers held significant advantages in 3-pointers (10-4) and free throws (22-9), while forcing 24 turnovers.

Kobe performances on this day in history: