On December 20, 2005, Kobe Bryant outscored the Mavericks by himself with 62 points in just three quarters.
The Lakers dominated the Mavericks, 112-90 and the main story was Kobe, who scored 62 points and didn’t touch the floor in the fourth quarter. In those same three quarters the entire Mavericks team scored just 61 points. This is the only time since the shot clock was implemented that a player had done this.
Bryant was just unguardable, shooting 18 of 31 from the field and an impressive 22 of 25 from the free-throw line. He made only four 3-pointers on the night, once again showing how to score consistently without relying on the three.
Kobe chose not to play in the fourth quarter for 70. He could’ve had 80 or 90 points that night. Assistant coach Brian Shaw asked him if he wanted to play in the 4th to get 70. “I’ll do it when we really need it,” Bryant said. He dropped 81 in a comeback win a month later.
When asked what fueled such an incredible performance after the game, Kobe said:
“I was very angry, I felt like I wanted to come out and send a message, that we’re going to dominate at home. We’re going to hit you, we’re going to bring it to you. I wanted to send that message.”
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and the greatest Laker ever. Two jersey numbers in the rafters at the STAPLES Center prove it. Kobe was able to take over games in ways that not many players could.
His drive to win at any cost helped him succeed on and off the court. An 18-time NBA All-Star, five-time NBA champion and one-time NBA MVP, he tragically passed away on January 26, 2020.
Kobe worked like he had no talent, then he played like he believed he was the best player in the world. Prepare with humility; perform with confidence, that’s one of the many lessons he taught us.