Home / Kobe Bryant Scores 81 Points vs. Toronto Raptors

Kobe Bryant Scores 81 Points vs. Toronto Raptors

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Sunday night, LA Laker Kobe Bryant scored an astronomic 81 points in a 122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Bryant shot 28 for 46, including 55 points in the second half alone.

Bryant’s feat is second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 1962 drubbing of the New York Knickerbockers, 169-147, in which he scored 100 points. Bryant accomplished this by hitting 18 of his 20 free throws and going 7 for 13 behind the three-point line with two assists.

Even without analysis, Bryant’s 81 would go down as legendary in NBA history, but it’s Kobe’s position that makes it so unbelievable. When Wilt Chamberlain managed to score 100 points, he was being fed the ball in the key where he could take full advantage of his 7’1” height.

It was easier for Wilt to dominate his position due to his size and strength, and therefore more feasible that he could reach 100 in a game. Kobe Bryant plays the swingman position. Michael Jordan has been quoted as saying it’s harder to make a run at 100 being a swingman. Factoring in game fatigue from playing defense and the extra time handling the ball more often and Kobe’s feat becomes even more unbelievable.

The general rule of thumb for an all-star NBA player is to play 40 out of 48 minutes (Kobe played 42 last night). During this time the swingman usually only has the ball for six minutes, with only four of those minutes being in scoring position.

Bryant does have a proclivity for keeping the ball more than your average two-guard. Given this, one can assume Bryant possessed the ball for eight minutes, six of them being in scoring position. By these numbers, with Bryant’s 46 shots, he was shooting the ball every 7.8 seconds that he had it.

To put this into perspective Michael Jordan’s game high came in an overtime victory, in which he tallied 69 points. It’s true that Jordan spread the ball around more and made his teammates better, but 69 was his limit.

But Bryant didn’t do this all on his own. He had the Toronto Raptors to help him. Last time Toronto met the Lakers in December, they managed to hold Bryant to a mere 11 points. The Raptors didn’t fare as well in this meeting. How the Raptors and their coaching staff couldn’t devise and implement a mid-game change to shut down one player reflects terribly on them.

Regardless of the extenuating circumstances, Kobe Bryant’s 81 points will go down as an historic event. If nothing else, it serves as an inspired individual performance. But in its most grandiose interpretations (of which there will be many), it reveals the greatness Bryant is capable of achieving given the right team, a playoff worthy team. Until Bryant has one, 81 will have to suffice.

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About Chris Inkpen

  • sal m

    actually considering the wretched state of the nba it’s amazing that there haven’t been more games like this over the past few years…perhaps this kind of point total has been achieved because so many guys have horrendous shooting percentages and kobe IS one of the better shooters in the league.

  • HI Chris,

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe say hello to the Yahoo group?

  • To sal,

    Hey, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the current defenses that most teams implement are weak and inefficient at heart. But teams like Detroit, Memphis, and San Antonio can still play incredible defense and hold teams under 60. Its obvious thats why two of them have been so dominant, its true in football and basketball- Defense wins championchips. Also, I think its pretty incredible that Jordan managed to put up 69, playing like he does, against teams actually geared towards defense in his day. I agree with your points.

    To the yahoo group,

    Hi, my name is Chris Inkpen. I recently interviewed for the contributing editor internship with Eric and am trying to put out some articles on politics and sports. I’ll be in touch soon, if anyone has any recommendations for articles in the yahoo groups, I would appreciate that, thanks.

  • Fine post.

    Kobe Bryant is, for better or for worse, one of the most interesting atheletes on the planet.

    He’s won championships. But he’s also lost championships. He’s been accused of rape. But he wasn’t convicted of rape. He can score 81 points in a single game. But his team is only 22-19, and didn’t even make the playoffs last year.

    He’s unpredictable, that Kobe.

  • Welcome to the camp. Make yourself comfortable, but please wear underwear. It’s only common courtesy.

    Oh, and was I the only one who cursed when they saw that box score with the “81?”

  • kobe is tremendously furiously a talented player.!!! he makes history…unbelievable player is that Wow!!!!!

  • A wee bit slow on the reaction there Lionel.

  • Stryke

    Kobe, having great potential, may be able to surpass the Michael Jordan. But, unless he becomes a team player and makes his team win titles on his own, he\’ll remain as he is, a great potential.

  • Viren Patel

    Kobe best player in NBA hands down

  • JTrill

    Kobe is a Beast… Plain and simple!!!