It was Jan. 22, 2006. The Lakers were actually struggling against the Toronto Raptors, trailing by 14 at the half on their home court. This was a Lakers team that started Kwame Brown and Smush Parker (I still say getting this team to the playoffs was one of Phil Jackson’s great coaching jobs), so if they wanted scoring they could turn to Kobe Bryant and… basically just Kobe Bryant.
So Kobe decided to put the Lakers on his back and carry them offensively — to the tune of 81 points.
It was a legendary game, and what makes it special is this wasn’t fluff, garbage-time points at the end of the game — if Kobe doesn’t take over this game the Lakers lose.
Enjoy this trip down memory lane. Unless you’re a Raptors’ fan, then sorry.