When Did Kobe Bryant Score 81 Points for the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA Game?

Published 08/16/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd after passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw in the second quarter of the game on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant has never missed stunning the league in his incredible NBA career. In a long array of his class acts, Kobe’s famous 81-point game was a beyond perfection phenomenon. Creating history has been one of his smooth-sailing tasks on the court, but this one surprised the legend himself.

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On 22nd January 2006, Kobe Bryant set the second-highest scoring record in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game against the New York Knicks in 1962. Ever since then, a number of players had attempted the 70-point range, however, Chamberlain’s pedestal was far from reality.

The force named Kobe Bryant created history in 2006

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In a match against Toronto Raptors, Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points for the Los Angeles Lakers. It was one of the most impressive single-handed games in NBA history that gave the Lakers a 122-104 over Raptors. Bryant knocked 28-of-46 shots from the field, 7-of-13 from three-point range, and 18-of-20 from the free-throw line.

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Nobody knew that Kobe will be achieving such a feat by the end of the game when he ended the first quarter with 14 points. The likes of Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose were playing on the Raptors team and they accelerated their lead by halftime. Trailing by 18 points in the third quarter, Lakers superstar Bryant took the game in his hands.

The Black Mamba wasn’t ready to give this win away. He went on to score 55 of his 81 points in the second half of the game, 27 points in the third quarter, and 28 points in the fourth quarter. During his 42-minute gameplay, Kobe took the center stage and the Lakers led the scorecard from thereon.

‘Not even in my dreams’: Mamba didn’t see this day coming

With 43.4 seconds remaining for the buzzer, Kobe Bryant was standing on the foul line and the only background sound surrounding that moment was ‘MVP!! MVP!!’ from the stands. The Staples Center crowd was packed and pumped up after witnessing a piece of excellence from their star player.

As much as the fans were in awe, Kobe Bryant expressed his feeling of a surprise after the historic game. “Not even in my dreams,” Bryant said. “That was something that just happened. It’s tough to explain. It’s just one of those things.”It really hasn’t, like, set in for me. It’s about the `W,’ that’s why I turned it on. It turned into something special. To sit here and say I grasp what happened, that would be lying.”

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That 2005-06 season, Kobe Bryant also became the league’s leading scorer to add a cherry on the cake. His 81-point game is still remembered as one of the most phenomenal moments of the league, all thanks to the Mamba.

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Pavni Ahuja

500 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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