Kobe Bryant is still punishing his opponents—just not in ways that will get him in trouble with the league office. And he has two weak ones coming up, meaning the second-best scoring spree in NBA history could go on a little longer.
Bryant scored 50 points to lead Los Angeles to a 111-105 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night, making the Lakers star only the second player in NBA history with at least that many points in four consecutive games.
The Lakers now head home for a five-game homestand, starting with games against poor defensive teams in Golden State and Memphis—which surrendered 60 points to Bryant on Thursday. And the league's leading scorer plans to stay aggressive.
"I can sniff it out, then I continue to attack them," Bryant said. "When I feel like he's reached that breaking point, I go at him."
Following games of 65, 50 and 60 points, Bryant moved within three games of Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 50 or more in seven straight during the 1961-62 season. And it comes not long after Bryant collected two one-game suspensions and a flagrant foul for delivering shots to his opponents. Both Bryant and Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the criticisms of Bryant that followed have served as a motivator.
In other games, it was: Indiana 95, Miami 70; Toronto 121, Denver 94; Philadelphia 106, Charlotte 97; Orlando 90, New Jersey 82; Dallas 109, Boston 95; Cleveland 90, New York 68; Portland 102, Atlanta 100 in overtime; San Antonio 90, Detroit 89; Seattle 85, Minnesota 82; the Los Angeles Clippers 104, Utah 72; and Golden State 135, Washington 128.
Los Angeles, which was slumping badly before winning all four games during Bryant's surge, will likely give Bryant plenty of chances to keep up his streak when it gets home, the AP reports.
"He's just been in such a good rhythm and he's such a good player that when he's feeling like that, it's kind of hard not to just keep going to him because it's amazing to watch and there's a good chance you're going to score," Lakers forward Luke Walton said.
Michael Jordan was the last player to score 50 or more points in three consecutive games, doing it for the Chicago Bulls in 1987, Reuters reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik