The Los Angeles Lakers won their seventh straight home game Tuesday night, a 99-83 win over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center, but the story of the night was Kobe Bryant. The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week scored an NBA season-high 48 points Tuesday night, electrifying the home crowd.
It was the most points scored by Bryant since he dropped 49 on the Suns in Phoenix on March 1, 2009.
It was the 108th 40-point game of Bryant's career
The last time Kobe scored 40 also came at Staples Center against the Suns, on March 22, 2011, a 139-137 triple overtime win for Los Angeles.
Bryant scored 17 points in the first quarter, including 13 points in the final four minutes of the quarter, keying a 15-0 run by the Lakers.
The 48 points scored by Kobe set a new NBA high this season, breaking the record of...Kobe Bryant, who scored 39 last Friday against Golden State.
Since Bryant made just six of his 28 field goal attempts in a January 1 loss in Denver, Bryant has scored 30 or more points in four of five games and has averaged 36.0 points per game during that span while shooting 51.5% (69 for 134).
Kobe now has 28,192 points in his career, sixth on the all-time list. Bryant is 404 points behind Shaquille O`Neal for fifth place.
After the game, Lakers head coach Mike Brown said of Kobe, per Elliott Teaford of the Daily News, "If you open him up he might be a machine, I don't know."
As for Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, who Bryant once famously patted on the butt during the 2010 Western Conference Finals, he told Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, "I thought we did a good job defending Kobe. He just made tough shots. There's a reason he is who he is."
LeBron James scored 26 points in Miami's overtime loss in Golden State on Wednesday night, dropping his scoring average to 29.67 points per game. With his 48-point performance, Bryant is a close second in the league at 29.45 points per game.
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