It’s the 10th anniversary of Kobe’s 81-point game against the Raptors

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Ten years ago today, Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors in what stands as one of the most ridiculous individual performances in NBA history.

I’m not going to go into a ton of detail reliving it here, both because the internet is doing that all over the place, and because we covered it off before Bryant’s final visit to Toronto back in December. Here’s something recycled from that post, which, well, it’s still “fresh” because history doesn’t change.

Black Mamba shot 28-of-46 from the field in the 122-104 victory, hitting 7-of-13 from long range, 18-of-20 at the line, and adding six rebounds, two assists, three steals, and one block. The Raptors countered with 26 points from The “Amityville Scorer” Mike James which was, uhhh, not enough. For a long time the game was close, the Raptors leading by 14 at the half before Bryant went insane in the third quarter to help take a three-point lead. That included 15 points in a four-minute stretch early in the grame.

kobe 3rd

From there the game became about seeing how many Bryant would put up, the collection of Morris Peterson, Jalen Rose, and Joey Graham unable to offer anything to slow Bryant down. That included taking every Lakers’ shot in the game’s final 6:31, save for two Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic attempts that probably got him scolded afterward. Bryant closed with 22 points in that final 6:31, subbing out with four seconds left in the game.


You can relive the entire performance here:

“Not even in my dreams,” Bryant said after the game. “That was something that just happened. It’s tough to explain. It’s just one of those things. 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.”

“We were just watching him shoot,” Chris Bosh said at the time. “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.”


And here’s a cool image on the outing, courtesy ESPN:


If you care to relive it further, NBA TV is broadcasting the game at 2 p.m. ET.

There’s also a terrific oral history up at ESPN, and a funny fake one from Jim Cavan at The Cauldron. My oral recounting of the event would not be appropriate for a family-friendly blog.

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