Back on January 22, 2006, Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant did what most thought could not be done and scored 81 points in a 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors.
There are many who feel no one that number will never be topped. They may be right but if there is one current player who has a chance to match or top Bryant’s 81, it’s Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
The 2013-2014 NBA MVP, who has recently drawn headlines for his withdrawal from Team USA, recently took to twitter to defend Bryant’s 81 points (Erik Horne of The Oklahoman has compiled the tweets here). Bryant’s game was criticized because he took 46 shots, but Durant responded “81 on 46 shots is pretty damn good” and “U want him to shoot 20 shots to get 80?”
Some people don’t seem to understand just how insane Bryant’s performance was that night and Durant helped provide some perspective.
Durant averaged 27.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 50.3% from the field, 39.1% from beyond the arc and 87.3% from the free throw line during the regular season. Then, he averaged 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 46.0% from the floor, 34.4% from beyond the arc and 81.0% from the charity stripe in the postseason. In his career, he’s averaged 27.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 47.9% from the field, 37.7% from three and 88.2% from the field. Bryant appeared in only six games last season, averaging 13.1 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 42.5% from the field, 18.8% from beyond the arc and 85.7% from the free throw line. In his storied career, he has averaged 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 45.4% from the field, 33.5% from three and 83.8% from the charity stripe.
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