On Day 62 of our 100 Days of Hoops, we continue the trend of scoring with Kobe Bryant in the 2005-06 season.
Basketball junkies were looking forward to this matchup, as the 18-6 Dallas Mavericks came to the Staples Center against the Lakers slow start at 13-11. The Lakers were coming off a frustrating 76-74 home loss to the Rockets and Kobe Bryant took out that frustration on Dallas a couple nights later.
Kobe came out blazing, not missing a shot in the first quarter. “I was so frustrated by the loss the other night I was going to will us to victory,” Bryant said after the game. He scored 24 that other night and matched that in this game sixteen minutes in.
“I was very angry, I felt like I wanted to come out and send a
message, that we’re going to dominate at home,” he said. “We’re
going to hit you, we’re going to bring it to you. I wanted to send
that message,” Bryant told reporters.
The message received and the Lakers blew out the Mavericks. Oh, and Kobe Bryant kept slashing and scoring, jump shot after jump shot with an unstoppable prime arsenal. In fact, Bryant had so much confidence he would score so many points, he told Smush Parker and assistant coach Brian Shaw he was going to go for fifty points that evening. And we should mention Kobe wanted to do this in front of Del Harris, a Mavericks assistant coach who formerly coached the Lakers during Kobe’s early years.
“When I was a rookie, I hated Del,” Bryant said. “I always said if I get a chance to get revenge, I’m going to get it.”
As a rookie, Harris vouched for him to play 15.5 minutes per game much to Kobe’s frustration.
“He pushed me back then to try to be as efficient as possible to get some minutes on the floor,” Bryant said. “I had to earn everything I got. I’m very appreciative now. But I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of the motivation.”
Bryant scored 62 in 3 quarters, outscoring the Dallas Mavericks by a point.
In the fourth quarter, assistant coach Shaw told Kobe he had the green light to play if he wanted to, just to get to 70 points.
“Nah I’ll get it another time,” Bryant responded.
Shaw clamped back saying not many people can say they can score 70 points in an NBA game.
“I’ll do it if we really need it. I’ll get it when it matters” Bryant said.
Three weeks later, Bryant gave Laker fans a night to remember.