On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant rained down 81 points on the hapless Toronto Raptors, leading the LA Lakers to a 122-104 win.
To be fair, the Lakers needed each and every point of The Black Mamba. They trailed 36-29 after the first period, 63-49 at the half.
Then Kobe caught fire.
In just under 42 minutes, Bryant shot 28-of-46 from the field, 7-of-13 from downtown, and 18-of-20 from the stripe. The only other game more impressive in the NBA’s history books is Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100 points.
So in the light of that achievement, let’s fast-forward 11 years, where the Lakers scored…73 points. In one full game.
Yup, the Lakers suffered their worst loss in franchise history, 122-73 to the Dallas Mavericks.
In fat, LA didn’t break 22 in any quarter, and scored just 11 markers in the second period. They shot 38.4 percent from the field, 14.3 percent (3-of-21) from downtown, and made 14-of-17 free throws.
The differences are staggering:
Comparing Kobe's 81-point game and the most lopsided loss in Lakers history, which occurred exactly 11 years apart. pic.twitter.com/A3PtPZzX3m
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 22, 2017
Now at 16-32, the Lakers have the worst record in the Western Conference. They’re still better than the Miami Heat (14-30), and the Brooklyn Nets (9-34), but that’s a small comfort after their hot start to the season.
Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images