Kobe Bryant had another one of those “I Got This Here” games Wednesday night, the kind that will have fans comparing number 24 to other all-time greats. With his team in dire need of a victory, Bryant put up a season-best 47 points against a talented Portland Trail Blazers squad, putting the Lakers in the driver’s seat for the eighth seed in the playoffs.
A 47-point night is always an affair to celebrate, but something about seeing the Black Mamba hang buckets like that is just incredible. Say what you will about the Lakers – I think that a lot of us can go on for a while – but Kobe refusing to loosen his grip is awesome. And it’s not just stubbornness. With 70 points over the last five quarters, Kobe’s greatness is as indisputable now as it was 10 years ago.
Bryant was aided by both of his high-profile bigs. Pau Gasol dropped 23, 11 rebounds and nine assists (!!!), while Dwight Howard added 20 and 10. The effort was effective and entertaining, and could be the key to the playoffs, where they will face either the Spurs (Kobe Bryant vs. Tim Duncan matchup? Yes. Yes. Yes.) or the Thunder (Kobe v. KD). Even if you hate the Lakers, you have to love for the potential in those match-ups.
And if they lose? The NBA’s neediest fanbase becomes as exposed as ever. NBA fans really can’t lose here.