Kobe Bryant Scores 81 Points in Win Over Raptors

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in last night’s game against the Toronto Raptors, the second highest total in NBA history.

Photo Toronto Raptors' Matt Bonner can't stop Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant from getting to the basket in the first half of NBA basketball action on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt A. Brown)Kobe Bryant, often unstoppable, played at a higher level than even he imagined possible. The Los Angeles Lakers’ star scored a phenomenal 81 points Sunday night — the second-highest total in NBA history — in a 122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Only Wilt Chamberlain’s storied 100-point game nearly 44 years ago ranks higher.

“Not even in my dreams,” Bryant said. “That was something that just happened. It’s tough to explain. It’s just one of those things. “It really hasn’t, like, set in for me. It’s about the `W,’ that’s why I turned it on. It turned into something special. To sit here and say I grasp what happened, that would be lying.”

The Lakers trailed by as many as 18 points early in the third quarter, angering Bryant. “He was ticked off,” teammate Lamar Odom said. When asked what Bryant said at that stage, Odom replied: “Nothing. That’s when it’s bad.” Bryant scored 51 points after the Raptors extended a 63-49 halftime lead to 71-53. The Lakers outscored the Raptors 38-14 to finish the third quarter to go ahead for good. “That was incredible, remarkable,” Odom said.


Chamberlain scored 100 points for Philadelphia against the New York Knicks at Hershey, Pa., on March 2, 1962, shooting 36-of-63 from the field and 28-of-32 from the foul line while playing all 48 minutes. Chamberlain had 59 points in the second half — the only player with more points in a half than Bryant’s 55 after halftime in this game. Chamberlain’s second-highest total was 78 against the Lakers in three overtimes on Dec. 8, 1961.

Michael Jordan’s career high was 69 points, and only four players had ever scored more than 70 — Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, David Thompson and David Robinson.


Bryant played nearly 42 minutes, going the entire second half until being lifted by coach Phil Jackson. Jackson coached Jordan and the Chicago Bulls to six championships in the 1990s and the Lakers, with Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, to three more titles, from 2000-02. “That was something to behold,” Jackson said. “It was another level. I’ve seen some remarkable games, but I’ve never seen one like that before.”


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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Wow. I would love to see some basketball wonk’s comparison of the players Chamberlain faced vs. those Bryant was up against.

  2. Jamie says:

    I wonder if he sexually assaulted another woman in celebration afterwards.

  3. donsurber says:

    81 points. 2 assists

  4. Bithead says:

    Well, let’s remember; the Raptors… with all respect to Trontonians… are the relative equivalent of Football’s New Orleans Saints.

  5. nfn fnke says:

    81 points. 2 assists

    What a selfish player!

  6. Ryan says:

    THe average team from WIlt’s day woudl be spanked now. Also, who did WIlt CHamberlain face in his 100 pointer?

    None other than the mighty Center Darrall Imhoff. On a unstoppable 29 and 51 New York team.

  7. Alex says:

    If Lamar Odom was on FIRE, I’m sure the Lakers would ride the hot hand and nobody would accuse him of being selfish. Teamwork is cute but in the NBA, fans don’t really want to see their team have GREAT teamwork and lose every game.