Kobe Bryant's juicy bits.

The stadium scene.
Jan. 25 2006 5:04 PM

Kobe Bryant's Juicy Bits

An in-depth analysis of the Lakers star's 81-point game.

Is Bryant the second coming?
Click image to expand.
Is Bryant the second coming?

Critics are already hailing Kobe Bryant's 81-point game on Sunday as the "greatest individual performance ever recorded." The designation was remarkably swift, even for sportswriters, who seemed to glance only at Bryant's line—28 of 46 from the field, 7 of 10 from the three-point line, and 18 of 20 from the free-throw line—before making up their minds. Just like that, Kobe had supplanted Chamberlain's tour de force in Hershey, Pa., Jordan's in Boston, and, apparently, Jesus' in Galilee. "You're sitting and watching," Lakers owner Jerry Buss crowed, "and it's like a miracle unfolding in front of your eyes and you can't accept it."

But just how amazing was Kobe Bryant's performance? Although everyone's seen the highlights 487 times, not many have taken in the whole game (in which, incidentally, the Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors, 122-104). Thanks to Google's new partnership with the NBA, you can now watch the historic game online for $3.95. (To buy the game, click here.)

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For those of you who don't care to watch Kobe demand the ball for two and a half hours—and for those who just want to skip ahead to the good parts—here's a handy synopsis of Kobe's greatest, and not-so-great, moments.

First Quarter

30 seconds into the video: Bryant passes to Kwame Brown at the top of the key. By my count, this is one of only 10 passes Bryant throws in the first half.
Score: Raptors 0, Lakers 0. Kobe: 0 points.

3:00: Bryant scores his first points on a reverse layup. A theme is established: Kobe gets ball early in possession. Kobe dribbles ball. Kobe shoots ball. Everyone watches.
Score: Raptors 5, Lakers 3. Kobe: 2 points.

13:35: Bryant feeds Chris Mihm in the post. Mihm holds the ball, holds it some more, drop-steps baseline, fades, and twirls a soft half-hook through the net. The move takes several seconds, but Bryant is credited with an assist anyway. This represents 50 percent of his total for the game.
Score: Raptors 25, Lakers 19. Kobe: 8 points.

16:20: This night isn't notable just for Kobe's amazing point total. It might also represent the worst celebrity turnout in Staples Center history. The requisite pan through the crowd reveals Chris Rock, Joe Walsh of the Eagles, and Andy Dick.
Score: Raptors 25, Lakers 19. Kobe: 8 points.

Second Quarter

29:08: Meet Raptors forward Pape Sow, part of the defense that would hold Bryant under 82 points. Last week, he was playing for the NBDL's Arkansas RimRockers.
Score: Raptors38, Lakers 29. Kobe: 14 points.