Sunday was an eventful day in the world of Sports but the talk around the water cooler the next morning wasn’t about the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Seattle Seahawks victories that are sending them to the Superbowl. Instead, even the most casual sports fans wanted to talk about Kobe Bryant’s record setting game that was easily overshadowed by the two NFL playoff games.
Kobe scored 81 points Sunday in the Lakers 122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptorsâ€”the closest anybody has come to Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 100 set nearly 44 years ago in a season when the team average was 111 points per game.
The question on many people’s minds is, “Can he beat 100?”
It will be difficult to pull off, if not impossible if the rest of the team isn’t behind him 100%. With a coach like Phil Jackson, who has made many public statements about how he disapproves of players not sharing the ball, it does not seem likely that a plan to help Kobe score triple digits will be approved by the coaching staff.
But one has to ask, why not? In Los Angeles the fans don’t pay the high ticket prices to see the Lakers, they pay to see the Kobe show. With a team as inconsistent and unreliable as this years, fans know that the more time that ball is in Kobe’s hands the better off the Lakers are.
Sure, Kobe only had two assists in the game, but itâ€™s not because he didnâ€™t pass the ball. Kobe gives his team the chance, but they arenâ€™t able to score the points that he can. Kobe shot 61% from the field for the night and the teamâ€™s next leading scorer, Smush Parker, shot 45%. Center Chris Mihm did manage to shoot 65% but, definitely wasnâ€™t going to dramatically help win the game by only taking eight shots all night.
Kobe also had the Raptors defense on his side. Not only did they allow him to take 46 shots, but he landed 18 for 20 free throws. In comparison, Lamar Odem was 5-6 from the line. A respectable percentage if he could manage to get fouled a few more times.
Nobody said there isnâ€™t any up and coming talent on the team though. Both Smush Parker and Sasha Vujacic have shown that they have talent and promise to be big names in the future, but as for now, the Lakers simply do not have any big name talent that can consistently score even 20 points per game. With a team like that, you need to look to players like Kobe Bryant who are able to step up their game and pull in a victory when it is obvious that the team isnâ€™t going to manage to do it on their own.
So hereâ€™s to the Lakers having a chance of making the playoffs. Hereâ€™s to seeing more jaw-dropping performances throughout the year. Hereâ€™s to witnessing more records being broken. Hereâ€™s to Kobe.