Kobe Adds Some Milestones to His Resumé in Win Against the Raptors
The Toronto Raptors always seem to bring out the best in Kobe Bryant.
Last night’s 129-122 overtime thriller bore witness to a couple of milestone achievements for the Hall-of-Fame shooting guard, as the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center. Bryant posted his 20th career triple-double (31 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) and redeemed himself in overtime after missing a couple clutch free throws down the stretch in regulation. In doing so, Bryant became the oldest player in NBA history to record a 30/10/10 stat line, eclipsing Larry Bird, who accomplished the feat at age 35. Bryant is 36-years-old.
But the Black Mamba wasn’t done rewriting the record books. With his assist to Wesley Johnson in the third quarter, Bryant became the only player in NBA history with at least 30,000 points and 6,000 assists. Although mostly just relieved to pick up another rare Lakers win, he acknowledged the milestone in a very typical Kobe manner. "It's a huge honor. It means I pass more than people say,” said Bryant after the game.
These two accomplishments fall at the heals of an impressive list of feats that Kobe has achieved against the Raptors in Los Angeles. Most notably, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points (second in NBA history only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points game) in a January 22nd contest between the two teams during the 2007 season. During that historic scoring barrage, Bryant was an ridiculous 28-46 from the field, 7-13 from three point range, and 18-20 from the free throw line.
Mere days before his Achilles injury in 2013, Bryant shined at the expense of the Raptors yet again, nailing a trio of impossible threes in the final two minutes and eventually leading the Lakers to an overtime victory. This performance came during the thick of an impressive streak of game-winning plays near the end of the 2012-13 season.
Although even his feats of only two years prior seem like distant memories after two major injuries and a slew of missed time, Bryant’s legacy and flair for the dramatic will endure long after his aging body. While the current Lakers season is guaranteed to be a disappointing one, Kobe’s incomparable longevity as an NBA superstar remains as impressive as ever. As he approaches the end of two-decade run among the NBA’s finest, moments like these should continued to be savored by basketball fans everywhere.