The 2015-16 season for Kobe Bryant isn’t about the numbers, but more a reflection on the extraordinary career he’s had. Anyone following the NBA knows that Kobe isn’t having a great year this year, at all. In his 20th season, during his farewell tour, nights where Kobe has a flurry of long-distance shots, and substantial scoring numbers are seldom.
On Tuesday night, however, Bryant had one of those nights we haven’t seen from him. The Lakers played the Timberwolves at the STAPLES Center, and two of the worst teams in the league played quite a competitive game. It was neck-and-neck the whole time, but the Mamba bucketed eight points in the last 26 seconds, and Los Angeles outlasted Minnesota to beat them 119-115 behind an astounding 38-point performance from Kobe Bryant; including 14 in the fourth quarter. This was the first time since November 16th, 2014 that Bryant put up at least 38 points.
Of his thirty-eight, thirty-two came from a combination of threes and free throws. Kobe splashed seven threes on 11 attempts and was 11-for-12 on the line. During his illustrious career, only on two other occasions has he shot better than 60% from three with 5+ makes, and greater 90% from the free throw line. Whether it was coming off screens, or in transition, Bryant’s shooting hand was red hot.
Tuesday night wasn’t all about scoring, either. Bryant pulled in five boards, dished out five dimes, and even came up with two steals. It was his 154th career game with 30/5/5, trailing only Michael Jordan (237) and LeBron James (256) for most all-time.
Bryant’s last game against Minnesota is certainly one to remember. It was, arguably, his best performance of the season and nobody knows how many games like this one Kobe has left.
“You’ve seen it for 20 years,” Bryant said after his performance.
*Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference*
*Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo*