Kobe's 81-point game second only to Wilt


Kobe Bryant's 81-point game, as called by Stuart Scott

Take a look back at the "SportsCenter" highlight from Kobe Bryant's 81-point game on Jan. 22, 2006, called by legendary ESPN anchor Stuart Scott.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant, often unstoppable, played at a

higher level than even he imagined possible.

He Got Game, And Then Some

To put Kobe's superhuman Sunday into some perspective ...

NBA teams have been held below 81 points 99 times this season.

The Lakers were held below 81 four times. They lost to the Wolves 88-74 on Nov. 9. (Kobe had 28). The Lakers lost to Memphis 85-73 on Nov. 14 (Kobe scored 18). The Lakers lost to the Rockets 76-71 on Dec. 18 (Kobe went for 24). And on Jan. 3, the Jazz beat the Lakers 90-80, when Kobe served a league-mandated suspenion.

The Trail Blazers and the Rockets have been held below 81 points nine times this season.

And the world champion San Antonio Spurs were held below 81 both times they played the Pistons this year. On Christmas Day the Pistons beat the Spurs 85-70, and just last week Detroit beat San Antonio 83-68.

-- Chris Ramsay, ESPN.com

The Los Angeles Lakers' star scored a phenomenal 81 points

Sunday night -- the second-highest total in NBA history -- in a

122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Only Wilt Chamberlain's storied 100-point game nearly 44 years

ago ranks higher.

"Not even in my dreams," Bryant said. "That was something

that just happened. It's tough to explain. It's just one of those


"It really hasn't, like, set in for me. It's about the `W,'

that's why I turned it on. It turned into something special. To sit

here and say I grasp what happened, that would be lying."

The Lakers trailed by as many as 18 points early in the third

quarter, angering Bryant.

"He was ticked off," teammate Lamar Odom said.

When asked what Bryant said at that stage, Odom replied:

"Nothing. That's when it's bad."

Bryant scored 51 points after the Raptors extended a 63-49

halftime lead to 71-53. The Lakers outscored the Raptors 38-14 to

finish the third quarter to go ahead for good.

"That was incredible, remarkable," Odom said.

Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer, left to a standing ovation

with 4.2 seconds remaining, having shot 28-of-46 from the floor,

including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, and 18-of-20 from the foul


With the 18,997 fans at Staples Center chanting "MVP! MVP!"

Bryant made two free throws with 43.4 seconds remaining for his

final points. He scored 27 points in the third quarter, 28 in the


"We are on a journey, and to put on a show like this for the

fans here in L.A. is truly something special," Bryant said. "I

grew up in front of these people, and now they are seeing me as an

older, young man."

The 27-year-old Bryant joined the Lakers out of high school, and

is in his 10th NBA season.

Chamberlain scored 100 points for Philadelphia against the New York Knicks at Hershey, Pa., on March 2, 1962, shooting 36-of-63 from the field and 28-of-32 from the foul line while playing all 48 minutes.

Chamberlain had 59 points in the second half -- the only player

with more points in a half than Bryant's 55 after halftime in this


Chamberlain's second-highest total was 78 against the Lakers in

three overtimes on Dec. 8, 1961.

Michael Jordan's career high was 69 points, and only four

players had ever scored more than 70 -- Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor,

David Thompson and David Robinson.

NBA single-game scorers

100 -- Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. New York at Hershey,

Pa., March 2, 1962.

81 -- Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers vs. Toronto, Jan. 22, 2006.

78 -- Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. L.A. Lakers, Dec. 8,

1961 (3 OT).

73 -- David Thompson, Denver at Detroit, April 9, 1978.

73 -- Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco at New York, Nov. 16, 1962.

73 -- Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. Chicago, Jan. 13, 1962.

72 -- Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco at L.A. Lakers, Nov. 3,


71 -- David Robinson, San Antonio at L.A. Clippers, April 24,


71 -- Elgin Baylor, L.A. Lakers at New York, Nov. 15, 1960.

70 -- Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco vs. Syracuse, March 10,


Bryant made it five. His previous career high was 62 points

during a 112-90 victory over Dallas last month -- he sat out the

fourth quarter because of the one-sided nature of the game.

"I was just determined. I was just locked in, tuned into what

was going on out there," Bryant said. "These points tonight

mattered. We needed them. The points I put in the basket were

instrumental. It means a lot more."

Bryant raised his scoring average to an NBA-leading 35.9 points

this season.

"I never imagined I would see history like that," said Devean

George, a teammate of Bryant's with the Lakers for 6½ seasons. "I

can't tell you where that came from. He just kept attacking,

attacking, attacking -- every time he got the ball."

Bryant played nearly 42 minutes, going the entire second half

until being lifted by coach Phil Jackson.

Jackson coached Jordan and the Chicago Bulls to six

championships in the 1990s and the Lakers, with Bryant and

Shaquille O'Neal, to three more titles, from 2000-02.

"That was something to behold," Jackson said. "It was another

level. I've seen some remarkable games, but I've never seen one

like that before."

Baylor held the Lakers' previous franchise record of 71 points

at New York on Nov. 15, 1960. Lakers special assistant Kareem

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, saw that game,


"Elgin's game was an incredible performance, also,"

Abdul-Jabbar said. "I don't think there's any comparison. Elgin

did it without 3-point lines. His game was attacking the hoop and

hitting jumpers inside 20 feet. Kobe's range is unreal, and he does

it his way.

"It was a real treat. His ability to shoot from long range and

also attack the hoop, split the defense and get in close for

opportunities near the basket is unique. He's made a niche for

himself, and he deserves it."

Bryant scored all but 15 of his team's 42 points in the third

quarter, and all but three of their 31 in the final period.

"You're sitting and watching, and it's like a miracle unfolding

in front of your eyes and you can't accept it," Lakers owner Jerry

Buss said. "Somehow, the brain won't work. The easiest way to look

at it is everybody remembers every 50-point game they ever saw. He

had 55 in the second half."

Bryant scored a season-low 11 points in the Lakers' 102-91

victory over the Raptors in Toronto last month. He has led the

Lakers in scoring in the last 21 games in which he's played, and is

averaging 45.5 points in 10 games since sitting out a two-game


"We were just watching him shoot," Toronto's Chris Bosh said.

"He takes the type of shots where you don't think they're going

in, but suddenly he's rolling, so he's kind of hard to stop. We

tried three or four guys on him, but it seemed like nobody guarded

him tonight."

Game notes
Bryant scored a season-low 11 points in the Lakers' 102-91

victory over the Raptors in Toronto last month. He had 14 in the

first quarter of this game. ... Bryant has led the Lakers in

scoring in the last 21 games in which he's played. He is averaging

45.5 points in 10 games since sitting out a two-game suspension.

... Toronto C Rafael Araujo, who has made 30 starts this season,

missed his second straight game and third of the season because of

a sore right shoulder. ... Bryant made his first five foul shots

before missing late in the second quarter, snapping his streak of

consecutive made free throws at 62. Michael Williams made an

NBA-record 93 straight for Minnesota in 1993. ... Bryant received a

technical foul with 10:44 left -- shortly after being accidentally

struck above the right eye.