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Kobe Bryant is used to surpassing scoring milestones

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There’s rarely been a month that has gone by this season in which Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hasn’t moved up on the NBA's all-time scoring list. With exception to the month of December and in the Lakers’ first two regular season games in October, Bryant has broken a scoring record at least once in all the other months. That’s a total of six times, including twice in November, once in January, twice in February and in the Lakers’ most recent game, a 92-83 win Wednesday over the San Antonio Spurs. That game featured Bryant eclipsing Alex English (25,613) for 12th place on the NBA’s all-time leaders scoring list with 25,636 career points.

It’s pretty well-established that Bryant scores a lot of points. But it’s surreal to see the pace at which he’s doing it. Last season, Bryant moved up from 23rd on the scoring list to 17th, moving past Larry Bird (21,791), Gary Payton (21,813), Clyde Drexler (22,195), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Robert Parrish (23,334) and Charles Barkley (23,757) along the way.

It also proves to be interesting how his record-breaking performances fit in the context of each game this season. They came on good performances, bad performances, wins and losses. Nonetheless, each game described after the jump provided vivid memories.

Wednesday: 92-83 victory over San Antonio Spurs

On a night the Spurs tried to double team Bryant, he still made them pay. He first played the facilitator role, finishing with six assists and proving the Lakers don’t always need him to score points. But he also did that, exploding for 10 fourth-quarter points.

Bryant’s career milestone almost became an afterthought entering the game, what with the Lakers’ uninspiring six-game winning streak, their fight to stay on top in the Western Conference standings and their quest to match Cleveland for the league’s best record. But his standing among the NBA’s all-time leading scorers still remains impressed. The next items on Bryant’s to-do list include surpassing John Havlicek and Dominique Wilkins (26,668). 

Feb. 24: 101-96 loss Dallas Mavericks

In his first game after missing the previous eight contests because of a sprained left ankle, Bryant returned to full form with a well-rounded 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. Oh, yeah, and he scored the game winner on Feb. 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The previous night would not be as mesmerizing, though he surpassed Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with his first field goal. Bryant scored only six points on three of 11 shooting in the first half before rebounding in the second half and finishing with 20 points on nine of 23 shooting along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Lakers displayed inconsistency across the board.

Lakers forwards Lamar Odom and Ron Artest each finished with 11 first-half points while center Andrew Bynum had eight points and seven rebounds in the first quarter. But Artest and Bynum went noticeably absent in the second half, scoring only two points each. And while you may expect 31 points from Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, you certainly wouldn't expect 30 points from backup guard Jason Terry.

Feb. 1: 95-93 loss to Memphis Grizzlies

The simple pass led to a simple, yet, record-breaking dunk.

Lakers guard Jordan Farmar and Bryant were on an uncontested break in the third quarter, with Farmar dishing to Bryant for what would be his 25,193rd career point, surpassing former Lakers great and general manager Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer. Bryant's record-breaking score provided little theatrics at the 4:37 mark, likely because he didn't want to further hurt his seven-week-long avulsion fracture to his right index finger. The dunk also appeared simple in true form with an easy uncontested basket. Fitting perhaps since Bryant scored many of his points with the same fluidity against tight defenses.

If only the rest of the game were that easy for the Lakers. Instead, they concluded an eight-game trip with a 95-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. And though Bryant’s 44 points came on 16 of 28 shooting, a debate ensued among Lakers fans on whether his scoring mentality disrupted the team’s chemistry.

The big picture, however, also focused on how many points Bryant would ultimately have at the end of his career. Bryant said earlier this season that he doesn't know if he'd be able to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's league-leading 38,387 points simply because the 13-year vet doesn't "know how long I'll play." But many, including West, expect Bryant to score at least 30,000 career points, meaning he would join Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) as the only players to score at least 30,000 points

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see him score in the 30,000s,” West said to me days before Bryant broke the record. “But health is an issue. There’s one opponent you can’t defeat and that’s age. (Pause). He will try that, by the way.”

Jan. 5: 88-79 victory over Houston Rockets

Chalk up the Lakers barely beating Houston to a bad shooting night. They shot only 36 of 79 from the field, led only 59-55 after three quarters and didn’t put the Rockets away for good until the final minute.

Chalk up Bryant’s nine of 23 performance to his fractured right index finger getting aggravated. It would prove to be just the beginning of a frustrating month for him, ending January shooting only 41.2% from the field.

Bryant scored 22 points and moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, but that received little attention. With Pau Gasol sidelined because of a strained left hamstring, Bynum (24) thrived in the paint and Odom complemented Bynum with 17 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists despite battling intestinal flu-like symptoms.

Nov. 19: 108-93 victory over Chicago Bulls

Even though Bryant surpassed Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for second place on the Lakers’ all-time franchise scoring list, his milestone was far from the story of the night. Gasol made his season debut after missing the first 11 games because of a strained right hamstring. And he provided an immediate reminder of what the Lakers were missing. Gasol’s presence (24 points and 13 rebounds) meant the onus wasn’t placed as much on Bryant, who had been averaging almost 10 points in first quarters this season. Against Chicago, he had only two before finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and a season-high eight assists.

Bryant passed Abdul Jabbar’s mark when he hit a free throw with 6:07 left in the third quarter, but that’s not what left him excited in the locker room afterward. That was reserved for Gasol’s return.

“He’s a great passer and he’s great at reading the defense,” Bryant told reporters. “You have another player that puts the defense in jeopardy.”

Nov. 6: 114-98 victory over Memphis Grizzlies

The Lakers missed Bynum (strained right elbow) and Gasol (strained right hamstring) and their presence inside, but what does it matter when you have Bryant? His 41 points, including 15 in the third quarter, marked the third time in the last week he scored that much in a game.

With the performance, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points when he made a jumper over O.J. Mayo in the second quarter. Bryant also moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the league’s all-time scoring list. And an interesting twist, Iverson scored eight points in that contest in what was only one of three games he actually played with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Bryant didn’t struggle for answers when asked what led to such a resurgence at the beginning of the season, with this game featuring several moves in the post that resulted in direct hits.

“It just comes easier because I’m well-rested,” Bryant told reporters, alluding to his lack of off-season obligations for the first time after three consecutive summers with Team USA work. “I just have the energy to be able to carry us for long periods of time. I’m just fresher.”

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected] on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers' Kobe Bryant, center, celebrates with teammates Ron Artest, left, and Pau Gasol late in the fourth quarter during the Lakers' 92-83 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (12)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Repost/bandwagon request:

Def Welcome back Zaira and Faith! No one likes a dude ranch.

I didn't actually know Faith was missing, she's always on the live chats. I know this because Justa won't let me call games when she's around. Actually Justa won't let me call the games even she's not around. Hey, what's up with that?

@MM, BLOG GOD you have outdone yourself! AWESOME! Thank you sir!
MAMBA23(Larry)

Mamba24 - Thanks for the love man. Much appreciated

MM

phred,

Re Dyan/Dianne/Diane. I always thought it was bad form to correct someone's minor spelling error unless they were being an absolute !@#$.

First you open yourself up to the dreaded tag of Spelling Nazi.

Second, Murphy's Law states that the minute you correct someone else in such a matter, you yourself make grammar/spelling error of galactic proportions, usually while your insulting the intelligence of someone else.

Anyways, that's what I've heard.

The fact that Kobe Bryant is breaking records every month is an amazing thing. He continues to be the best and rise up every game to prove that he is he best player in the league. He has accomplished so much during his career and is still going to be playing for a while. Kobe and the lakers are not going anywhere for a while and are always powerhouses. Kobe deserves all te different records and acknowldgment becuase he is the best and is very hardworking. Great amazing athlete.

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KUDOS KOBE ON BECOMING THE 12TH ALLTIME SCORING LEADER – BANDWAGON
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As noted blogger #4 said:” Remember how much Kareem hated Alex English? This one's for you Cap.
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(01)JUSTANOTHERMAMBA – OWNER - Congrats to finally (!!!) waking up to the greatness that is Kobe Bean Bryant. Recognizing the unstoppability of his unstoppableness. Nothing like being a fan of the Mamba. Nothing like it in the whole world. Next to being a true purple & gold Lakerholic, it's the best! We are surely blessed (and spoiled) to have such an unbelievable talent to watch on a regular basis. The Black Mamba is something else. How many times last night did we go "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE HE JUST DID THAT"????? LOL!!! You'd think we'd be used to it by now!
(02) SEGEBOY - THE SHERIFF
(03) KB BLITZ – DRIVER
(04) # 4 - Please put me on the Kobe, 12th on the scoring list bandwagon. Does anyone remember how much Kareem hated Alex English? This one's for you Cap.
(05) JEANETTE - RIDING SHOTGUN - History is in the making. There is no denying, it's Lakers vs. Cavs in the Finals. Lakers win and Kobe Finals MVP, KOBE is in my books will be GOAT. Congrats to KOBE, it blows my mind on how great he has become. Maturity has done a great deal on that. Amazing how he can turn it on. When PJ said activate the ball, he started shooting. He scores when he wants, where he wants, how he wants, as a defender you could only wish he miss.
(06) ZAIRA AMATERASU – SECURITY - particularly loved the way Kobe was able to guide us all, not merely as player (he did just so well tonight as game chief) but also as a "antics-slower". I also loved all that he said during the post game interview. Spot on in full.
(07) MAMBA24 - A hopeless Lakerholic
(08) SCOTT – DEPUTY SHERIFF - LeBron gets all the attention, but it's Kobe and Duncan who've proven themselves in the NBA, with 8 titles between them this past decade. Let's see if LeBron can get anywhere near this before we call this "the LeBron Era."
(09) LAKER IN BC - Kobe playing like Kobe, doing whatever he wants to do, when he wants to do it.
(10) FEARLESS - But, the Finals MVPs, they get those right. Can you imagine if Kobe is able to go up against Goliath and repeatedly beat him back? Can you imagine the series where LeBronze and Kobe square off in the Finals and LBJ doesn't win? How does LBJ stay anointed after that?
(11) ANNIE - Go Kobe!! you are always the best player at all time.
(12) AVASIA – Kobe can make anything happen because HE IS A GREAT PLAYER HANDS DOWN! :)
(13) LAKERTOM – CONGRATS, to Kobe!
(14) JON K – SECRET AGENT - Congratulations, Kobe! We all know that when you finally do retire, you are going to be Top Three All-Time in scoring!
(15) OUCHHHH - that Kobe guy had 11-16 that is like 68.75% ironically, he had the lowest +/- of the game at -3. :-) also he made all the difficult shots (except the last 3 when he was nonchalant)
(16) GIFT AR - The fact that Kobe Bryant is breaking records every month is an amazing thing. He continues to be the best and rise up every game to prove that he is he best player in the league. He has accomplished so much during his career and is still going to be playing for a while. Kobe and the Lakers are not going anywhere for a while and are always powerhouses. Kobe deserves all the different records and acknowledgement because he is the best and is very hardworking. Great amazing athlete.
(17)

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FAITH & ZAIRA, - LETS HEAR IT FOR THE LADIES, WELCOME BACK – BANDWAGON
Looks like we’re getting the Band back together. Of course the most impressive defense the Lakers have shown is when our Minister of Defense Faith returned. Also Kobe was outstanding due to the magnificent contributions of Zaira & Faith last night. Ladies, The Lakers Blog Salutes you! Kudos!
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(01) JEANETTE – OWNER - Welcome back Zaira. Got to admire your dedication to the Lakers. I follow the game chat, although I do not participate. It was beautiful to see you and Faith on the game chat. It's an all star.
(02) LAKERTOM – DRIVER - ZAIRA… I have to agree with Jolly Rancher. It’s good to see our princess outside the Live Blog for a change. We must be approaching the playoffs. LOL! Now where is our Ministress of Defense?
(03) FEARLESS – RIDING SHOTGUN - To beat them this way on their homepitch just sounds good and put things in a nice perspective."@Zaira What a great way to put it. As is known by all in attendance, it is Zaira's words that move me the most in this forum. There are many others here who vie for second place on that list.
(04) # 4 - You know I'm down with the Laker ladies bandwagon....A ladies perspective of Laker basketball is always very, very interesting. I'll go ahead and say its a damn aphrodisiac....one of the major reasons why Mrs. #4 is Mrs #4 today.
(05) JOLLY RANCHER – SECURITY - Is that a real live Zaira sighting??!! A good win and Zaira too: Now it feels like things are coming back together.
(06) MAMBA24 – It looks like we’re getting the Band back together. Of course the most impressive defense the Lakers have shown is when our Minister of Defense Faith returns. Also mamba was outstanding due to the magnificent contributions of Zaira & Faith last night. Ladies, The Lakers Blog Salutes you Kudos!
(07) MARK G. - Def Welcome back Zaira and Faith! No one likes a dude ranch. I didn't actually know Faith was missing, she's always on the live chats. I know this because Justa won't let me call games when she's around. Actually Justa won't let me call the games even she's not around. Hey, what's up with that?
(08)

MM… I thought it was obvious that I was kidding about the KamBros being slackers. Guess I will have to make sure to put more “JK” or other comments to make myself clear. I have nothing but great respect and appreciation for the KamBros, especially for starting this blog. On the other hand, I do personally think that you are really doing a better job than the two of them combined did. That’s no disrespect to the them but rather just my total respect for the phenomenal job that you are doing. It’s so good that it almost makes the KamBros appear to have been slackers in contrast. That’s what I really meant. :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

On the other hand, I do personally think that you are really doing a better job than the two of them combined did. That’s no disrespect to the them but rather just my total respect for the phenomenal job that you are doing. It’s so good that it almost makes the KamBros appear to have been slackers in contrast. That’s what I really meant. :-)Posted by: LakerTom | March 25, 2010 at 01:53 PM
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And I echo that. It's like seeing vince Carter make a Spectacular dunk and saying,boy that guy is great! Then you see Kobe Bryant and he takes greatness to a whole new level. So let us repeat...Kambrothers great, Mark Medina...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!

@Mamba24 -"...Kambrothers great, Mark Medina...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!"

While I agree, you have to give MM some room to continue to grow. How do you improve on "OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!".

MM - I've been reading the blog for about 3 years but only started participating since your arrival. You've defiantly had a very positive effect.

JR

@Jolly Rancher, Thanks I do tend to sometimes let my enthusiasm get the best of me/ I shall try my best to rein it in. So let me repeat,
Mamba24 sometimes over exuberent, The Blog God ...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!:)
Mamba24(larry)

Guys, I've been getting a few emails lately saying they've been having trouble posting. So if that's been the case for you lately, I apologize for all this. I'm actually going through a similar problem. Management is well aware of it and is figuring out the root of the problem.

In the meantime, if you're having trouble having your comment saved, try clicking on preview first and then posting. That's worked for me thus far.

Thanks for your patience and I'll keep everyone updated on any developments.

MM

Everytime I read and watch anything celebrating Kobe, you all know that I am grateful and gazing eyes and heart into my hero's stream of glory.

Cos it truly happens just like that: I sit, I read&watch, and so naturally inside me there is this warmth that embraces me fully and makes me glow.

Planets gets their shapes enlightened by sun's rayes, and so you can see them better and in all colours and shapes: and so my sport love gets enlightened by Kobe's impressive lists of achievements, and always gets furtherly crafted and empowered by what he lets me learn through his way to LIVE this sport.

Yesterday on the rerun of Spurs game, my (by far) two favourite Italian broadcasters (Tranquillo and Buffa) digged in about Kobe.
They just LOVE him the way I do; for the same reasons:

"Look the way he is able to shot from 9 meters away from the basket, with two people hands on face on him, and just look like he's not even seeing them... like he can pass them through and make them disappear. This it's beyond being as cool as a stone. This is something that is JUST about Kobe Bryant."

Because in the list of greats of all time, beside deciding who's better, who's first or second (I am talkin about GOAT in Lakers and GOAT in basketball... and this is something that I will decide upon only when career is ended, but I already know names around in all cases are just three: Kobe, Micheal and Magic), and all that, what truly captures me in Kobe is his unique mindset that spouses his incredibly crafted skills.

Many people have skills.
Sure not in the way Kobe has, but there are others who might have started with his similar level of skills.
What parts Kobe from the rest, is the impressive, mesmerizing, totally overhuman dedication at always getting better in ANYTHING he was given, no matter how big that skill and talent was already from the start.

His drive is what makes him truly my hero.

It's a constant call out.

A longlasting display of building up abilities.

Even his raise and falls help makin him superior, and just a model to look at in anything that is meant to be sport-y ralated.

Don't know how many of you are familiar with Japanese mangas and anime (I am a freak there, due to my Japan love), but if you are, you know there are many anime about sports in that culture.

Well, maybe I am biased about my perception of the game there, but all of those stories display an overskilled hero or heroine and then in all of their journeys in the games they play they achieve the best, then they lose the best, then they fight to be again a better best.
CONSTANTLY craving for that amazing pushing further that is the true key in all sport.

But that is also the key in human evolution.

For that incredible match up Kobe has in his ethically unmatcheable approach to this inmost truth of utter perfectionism and perfectionability in sport matter, with the way humans truly should pave their road to approaching all life as well, I do believe his lists of achievements are far from being secluded or rounding out just yet.

For all you've already done, that is beyond inspiring: thank you Kobe.

Waiting in charge of more marvels from you, so naturally believing the day you will stop to amaze me will only be the one, so sad and heart-tearing, when you will wrap up and steal away your infinite magic from the courts of basketball anywhere in the world.

Hope that day is far, far away from approaching.

Because that day, something totally unique will be taken away from this game forever.

And if you look above, and if you love basketball for real... that day you MUST be all sad.

regardeless what team you love, what kind of basketball you dig better, whatever else.

Thank you for being a Laker, Kobe.

Thank you for being a player.

You gifted the world a boundless magic through your hands, head, heart.
And you will keep doing it.
Like the God of the Game you are.


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