DAR Sports: Kobe Bryant's 8 Greatest Scoring Performances

By @TrueGodImmortal

As the Los Angeles Lakers get ready to retire Kobe's two jersey numbers, I thought it would only be fair to pay homage to the biggest aspect of Kobe's game: scoring. Kobe was a good passer, a solid rebounder, and an amazing defender, but at his greatest moments, he would be putting the defenses through pain, and running up the score. Today, with his jersey retirement coming up, we wanted to take a look at some of his greatest scoring performances. Kobe could drop 40 on any given night and has done so over 130 times in his career, but these choices are all 50 points and above. With a number of games to choose from, what makes this list of 8 (we decided on 8 due to one of his jersey numbers that will be retired)? Let's take a look.

*52 Points
(Vs Utah Jazz, 11/30/06, 19-26 FG)

-34 minutes played. 3 quarters. 52 points. 30 points in one quarter. Kobe was honestly at the top of his game during this season, and once again, he was scoring at the highest level possible. This game is one of my favorites for a few reasons. One, unlike his Charlotte Hornets game, and some of the other 50 point performances he had, this was one of the most efficient in his entire career, finishing with 73% from the field and 67% from three. To do this over three quarters and lead his team to a blowout victory is the icing on the cake. Kobe was magnificent in this game. This is the stuff legends are made of.

*55 Points
(Vs Washington Wizards, 3/28/2003, 15-29 FG)

-My fondest memory of watching Kobe came from him dropping 55 points on the Wizards and a 40 year old Michael Jordan. The fact remains, Kobe had finally been given the reign as the best player of the world during this time period and Jordan was well aware of what Kobe could do. Kobe went as hard as he ever had in his career at the time and the chance to outperform and get the win over his idol was special. Kobe delivered on a big stage against the greatest player ever and this was definitely a legendary game.

*60 Points
(Vs Memphis Grizzlies, 3/22/2007, 20-37 FG, 17-18 FT)

-In the midst of what can be considered his greatest stretch of games ever, Kobe would drop 60 points on what I consider an unsuspecting Grizzlies team. Kobe was magnificent down the stretch, pretty efficient, and during the era where he was far and away the best player on his team, he stepped up and put the team on his back, leading them to a close 121-119 victory. Kobe has a lot of great games against the Grizzlies honestly, but this takes the cake as the best.

*60 Points
(Vs Utah Jazz, Final Game, 22-50 FG)

-The last fight. The final chapter. While this wasn't his best game from the field, Kobe went out with a bang. I remember thinking that I would be happy with a 35 point game from Kobe to go out in a way that no other player had gone out before. I figured Kobe would take about 30-40 shots, finish with 35 points, and the Lakers would lose by 10. Instead, what we got was an excellent performance of tenacity, sheer grit, and vintage Kobe. Playing 40 minutes, Kobe willed the team to victory and carried them on his back. In the 4th, Kobe did it all for his team, leaving the lasting impression with a huge 60 point performance. This is the greatest retirement game ever and it's not even close.

*61 Points
(Vs New York Knicks, 2/2/09, 19-31 FG, 20-20 FT)

-There is always a chance that someone will play their best in Madison Square Garden. A lot of the greatest players have defining performances at MSG, and this would be Kobe's MSG showcase. He came in and set the MSG record for points from an opposing player, and he did so in true Black Mamba fashion. Shooting 62% from the field, 50% from three, and 100% from the free throw line. This is another favorite performance of mine from Kobe and it's easily one of his best scoring nights without question.

*62 Points
(Vs Dallas Mavericks, 12/20/2005, 3 Quarters, 18-31 FG)

-One of the most impressive scoring performances ever. In just 33 minutes of playing time, Kobe put up 62 points on 58% from the field. What was more impressive about this entire performance is that Kobe outscored the entire Mavericks team through the 3 quarters and if he had played in the 4th, he might have broke more records and exceeded his 81 point day here. That's the thing about some of his best performances. Kobe could have a few 70 point performances on his resume if he played more minutes in some of those games. The fact that he effortlessly dropped 62 in three quarters, outscored the opposing team in those three quarters, and did so very efficiently is yet another testament to the legend of Kobe.

*65 Points
(Vs Portland Trailblazers, 3/16/07, 23-39 FG, 8-12 3PT)

-One of his greatest performances ever came in an OT victory against the tough Blazers team. Kobe was determined to push his team to victory and with 24 points in the 4th quarter, he got the job done. This is one of the greatest and most efficient performances from Kobe, as he shot 59% from the field, 67% from the 3 point line, and 92% from the FT line, which are just outrageous numbers. If anything, this might be his actual best performance from top to bottom, as Kobe did it all in this game and he did it in a major way that grinded out a tough victory for his team. This is my personal favorite Kobe performance.

*81 Points
(Vs Toronto Raptors, 1/22/06, 28-46 FG)

-Of course. Of course. What would this list be without the greatest scoring game in his history? The fact remains, this is still quite an impressive feat and one that may not be duplicated for some time to come. While scoring is a huge deal in the sport today, Kobe in his prime was an untouchable scorer and this game is the example of why. Jalen Rose hasn't managed to live down this game, despite him not being the only player that Kobe scored on. This game is iconic for so many reasons, but honestly, the biggest memory of this game is that Kobe seemed relentless in his fight to give his team a much needed victory, and that was honestly the type of player that Kobe was. He was all about doing what it takes to win and to put yourself and your team in the best predicament to do so. It's an honor to see that Kobe will have his jerseys retired and I know there will never be another like him. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best of the best, and probably the hardest worker this game has ever seen. The memories never subside and the legend lasts forever. KOBE!



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