by Craig Kwasniewski
Kobe Bryant scores a career high 62 points as the Lakers beat Dallas 112-90, here are a few notes from my view high up in the rafters:
-After the first five minutes, you can tell that Kobe was going to have a monster game. Right from the opening tip, Kobe looked quicker and more active than anyone else on the floor. On offense he was able to get off a shot from any spot on the floor. He was oozing confidence.
-By halftime, Kobe had 32 points. All the scoring came within the flow of the offense. It didn't look like he was forcing any shot. Early in the season it would take Kobe 30 shots to get 30 points...not tonight.
-Two moments in the 3rd quarter changed the way Kobe approached the game. The first happened in the first few minutes of the second half. Kobe drove down the lane and spun at Dirk Nowitzki and unintentionally hit Dirk in the face. The refs gave the foul to Dirk and didn't see that Kobe initiated the contact. It was a bad call! Dirk flipped out and drew a technical foul (referee Steve Javie incensed Dirk even more when he gave the technical by making a "T" with his two index fingers in a subtle way). Coach Avery Johnson, sensing that the game may be getting out of hand drew a technical foul to rally the troops. Four straight free throws to Kobe who already was at 34 points.
-The second key moment happened when Josh Howard flagrantly fouled Kobe during a drive. Howard was frustrated and made the mistake of getting Kobe angry. Kobe called out Howard right after the foul. To Kobe: IT... WAS... ON... Bryant went into complete "Fuck You" mode and was jacking up 37 foot jumpers and going one-on-five. Kobe tried to embarass any Maverick that was guarding him. He kept making shot-after-shot taking the crowd with him. Staples Center completely erupted as Kobe hit his final jumper... outscoring Dallas 62-61 after three quarters!!!
-Kobe did not come back into the game, he spent every timeout waving to his wife and daughter who were sitting 4 rows behind the bench.
-Believe me, Kobe was so on that he could have dropped 80 points tonight. It was completely his decision not to play the rest of the game. So let's not blame Phil Jackson for "benching" Kobe in the 4th quarter.
-The Lakers honored Rick Fox with a video montage and gave him a framed jersey to a standing ovation. This was the first Laker game that Fox saw since he retired in 2004.
-Oh and by the way, the career high for Shaquille O'Neal is 61 points. Any coincidence?