This Day in History (2002): Kobe Bryant Scores 56 points in 34 Minutes Against the Grizzlies
On this day in history, January 14th of 2002, Pau Gasol probably thought one day he would like to play with Kobe Bryant.
Gasol had an impressive team-high of 25 points and 12 rebounds in 44 minutes, but his future teammate, Kobe Bryant, poured in a ridiculous 56 points in just 34 minutes. The only reason Kobe didn’t play any additional minutes is because the Lakers were winning 98-59 at the end of the 3rd quarter. It’s pretty insane to think Kobe Bryant almost outscored the opposing team by himself after three quarters; more insane is he actually ended up doing it against the Mavs in 2005, by outscoring them 62-61 after three.
The 56 was a new career-high for Kobe, who made 21 of 34 shots and 11 of 12 free throws.
“For some reason, I felt really good,” Bryant said. “I felt like I was in a groove. I didn’t get the feeling of the basket being big, I had a lot of bounce. The legs felt extremely good.”
One of the most amusing things about the game was how good Kobe was feeling about suspended teammate Shaq: Kobe wrote the #34 on his shoes when he heard about Shaq being suspended and after the game when he was asked if he had a message for Shaq, he said “I love you, man!”
That love didn’t last much longer but thankfully for Kobe, Pau Gasol was there to try to fill the void.
If you want to know why Shaq was suspended, check out this missed punch on Brad Miller. Thankfully he didn’t land the punch because we might have had another Kermit Washington/Rudy T story.
Since we are talking about big games and Lakers’ bigs of the past, if you flashback 64 year ago today, George Mikan scored 51 of the Lakers 77 points in a loss to the Royals.