Kobe Bryant once scored 81 points in a game.
It happened in the Lakers’ 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Morris Peterson and Jalen Rose had to play defense on Bryant for most of the evening.
What people may not know is that a month before that game, Peterson had to guard Bryant and Bryant couldn’t score on Peterson.
For those keeping score at home: That game took place on Dec. 7, 2005, Peterson held Bryant to 11 points on 5-for-12 shooting in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. During the 2005-06 season, Bryant averaged a career-best 35.4 points per game.
“I locked him up a month before that, and he only had 11 points,” Peterson told me in an interview in 2016.
“People can say whatever, but he only averaged 45 that year just like he was doing everybody else.”
Peterson shared back then that he Kobe Bryant probably likely watched film and used his 11-point game as fuel to score 81 points on the Toronto Raptors. “The greatest thing about that game is that, them 81 … they needed every bit of those points,” Morris Peterson told me.
“It wasn’t like they were blowing us out or whatever. It was 81 where he really needed those.
“In the second half, I remember him passing the ball to Lamar Odom and the ball going out of bounds and he just kind of shook his head and he had that look in his eye like ‘I’m about to shoot the ball every time I get it’ and take over – and he obviously did.”
Peterson also told me that former Dallas Mavericks guard, Devin Harris approached him, shook his hand and stated: “thank you for erasing that 62-point, three-quarter game and letting him get 81.”
During our interview, Peterson spoke highly of Bryant: “He’s is such a student of the game,” Peterson said.
“I talk to a lot of people about the game, and they always ask me like ‘What did that feel like?’ And as a competitor, you definitely don’t want to see that happen. He had (62) points in three quarters against Dallas.”
A 20-year NBA veteran, Kobe Bryant was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA. Bryant retired from basketball in 2016. The shooting guard sits fourth on the NBA’s career scoring list with 33,643 points, he also has five NBA championships and his numbers 8 and 24, both retired by the Los Angeles Lakers organization at Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant‘ died on Sunday January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday while on his way to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. He along with his daughter, Gianna Bryant and seven other passengers perished in the crash.