1) Jan. 22, 2006 — Career-high 81 points vs. Toronto
Second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point barrage with the Philadelphia
2) Dec. 20, 2005 — Bryant 62, Dallas 61 through three quarters
In a precursor to his 81-point outburst a month later, Bryant outscored the
3) June 4, 2000 — Game 7 Western Conference finals vs. Portland
The Shaquille O'Neal/Bryant era barely got to the
4) June 14, 2000 — Game 4 of NBA Finals vs. Indiana
O'Neal had fouled out with 36 points and 21 rebounds, but Bryant carried the Lakers to the finish line to take a 3-1 series lead. Bryant's 28 points included three crucial overtime baskets to give the Lakers a 120-118 victory. The team clinched the title two games later at Staples Center for Bryant's first championship.
5) May 12, 1997 — Game 5 airballs vs. Utah
Bryant came into the league as a brash 18-year-old, always confident in his abilities, but gained a valuable lesson in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the
6) April 14, 2004 — Two-overtime victory vs. Portland
With the Pacific Division in the balance, Bryant hit two nearly impossible shots, the first over
7) March 16-23, 2007 — Four consecutive games with 50-plus points
Bryant was an unstoppable force over an eight-game stretch, scoring 65 points against the Trail Blazers, 50 against Minnesota, 60 at Memphis and 50 at New Orleans. Bryant's streak ended the next game, when he scored 43 points against Golden State.
8) June 17, 2010 — Game 7 of NBA Finals vs. Boston
Bryant said he wanted it so badly, he couldn't shoot straight — and he didn't. Bryant made only six of 24 shots from the field, but had 15 rebounds and made a crucial pass to Metta World Peace for a three-point basket. The Lakers avenged their 2008 Finals loss to Boston and Bryant passed O'Neal's four titles with his fifth.
9) Aug. 24, 2008 — Olympic gold-medal game vs. Spain
In addition to his
10) April 12, 2013 — Two free throws with an Achilles' tendon tear
Bryant was playing at an elite level until the game against Golden State. Although he was never the same after tearing his Achilles' tendon, Bryant was somehow able to stay in the game after the injury to shoot, and make, two free throws before leaving. Bryant finished with 34 points; his free throws helped the Lakers pull out a 118-116 victory.
Pincus is a Times correspondent.