Eighty-one points in a game... eighty-freakin-one! Simply an incredible achievement for Kobe Bean Bryant. The second most points EVER scored in a game. It was quite possibly the greatest scoring performance in NBA history. Yeah Wilt had 100 back in '62, but there wasn't anyone with his size that could guard him in that day and virtually all his points were down in the paint.
I watched Kobe drop 62 on the Mavericks in three quarters back in December. The Mavs threw everyone they had at him, double and triple-teamed him to no avail. Sunday night, the Raptors did the same thing, with the same result. What a shame this game wasn't on national television though most of Kobe's 28 field goals were shown on every sportscast in town. Here's a scary thought... if Phil lets Kobe play the 4th against the Mavs, Kobe probably has TWO 80 point games within a month! Michael Jordan never scored 80, his career high was 69.
Kobe rallied the Lakers from 18 points down in the 3rd quarter, single-handedly delivering an 18 point win. That’s a 36 point swing! Bryant's performance was the greatest show that the NBA has ever seen. Kobe is averaging 36 points a game, the most in the last 18 years since MJ was averaging 37 for the Bulls back in the day. These weren't all easy baskets and dunks by any means; several shots were put up with hands right in his face, only to find the bottom of the net.
The man is virtually unguardable. His shooting range goes way beyond the three-point line, and his ball-handling ability allows him to get to any spot on the floor. His strength and fearlessness puts him at the free-throw line time and again, and his steely nature at the end of games makes him lethal in the clutch. He is a basketball machine.
If Kobe had come before Michael, they would be comparing MJ to Kobe instead of the other way around, he's that good. Kobe Bryant has to win the NBA's MVP award. No one else is even close right now. Elton Brand was the early-season favorite after his fast start, and Steve Nash has been mentioned as a repeat winner for leading the Suns to first place in the Pacific Division. Dirk Nowitzki also deserves consideration for his play and for the success of the Mavericks. But Kobe has elevated his game to an entirely different level – one that has rarely been seen in the history of the NBA.
He is far and away the best player in the league. And after the show he put on Sunday, can anyone argue that he's not the MVP?