Coming off a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that saw Michael Redd drop 45 points on a recovering Kobe Bryant (27 points on 7-of-23 shooting), the Black Mamba was looking to destroy his next opponent. Those future victims turned out to be the Utah Jazz — a team Bryant always enjoyed torturing up until his final day in the NBA.
In just three-quarters of action, Bryant scored a season-high 52 points on 26 shots as the Lakers whooped the Jazz by 30 points.
“I felt great. I felt explosive,” said Bryant, who scored 30 of his 52 in the third quarter and connected on 11 consecutive shots. “It’s just about trusting my knee and trusting my legs. And after tonight, I know I’m at that point right now where I feel like I know it’s going to be there.”
After the game, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he had no answer to stopping Bryant.
“He caught the ball and got on a roll; he just made whatever he caught,” Sloan said. “Players like that, they get on a roll and I don’t think there’s much you can do.”
Since 1963, there have only been 14 instances of a player scoring 50+ points in less than 35 minutes. Kobe has four of those 14 instances, including the highest point total (62 points in 33 minutes).
BONUS VIDEO: BRYANT’S REVENGE GAME VS THE JAZZ
This was his first game against the Jazz after his infamous airball game in the 1997 playoffs. He got a lot more touches than usual because Shaq was suspended after slapping Greg Ostertag earlier in the day.