Raptors: Reliving Kobe Bryant dropping 81 points on Toronto

SAN ANTONIO - MAY 7: (FILE PHOTO) Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO - MAY 7: (FILE PHOTO) Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Listing the accolades of Kobe Bryant simply doesn’t do his legacy justice, as the basketball immortal remains one of the most iconic and showstopping performers the league has ever seen. Unfortunately, for Toronto Raptors fans, they were burned by Kobe’s unmatched ability to get hot quickly more times than they can count, with today serving as the anniversary of an unsavory moment in Raptors history.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the late Bryant’s demolition of Sam Mitchell’s Raptors, putting up 81 points, a total that STILL remains the most ever scored in a single NBA game by any player not named Wilt Chamberlain.

Kobe Bryant was lethal in this game, showing how he could take over games with his scoring ability

Bryant was 28-46 from the field, 7-13 from three-point range, and 18-20 from the charity stripe. For the sake of comparison, LA’s second-best offensive player that night was Smush Parker, who went 5-11 from the field and totaled just 13 points. Chris Bosh tried to stop the bleeding with 18 points and eight rebounds while Mike James continued his career season by totaling 26 points and 10 assists, but they were naught but ash after Kobe was done eviscerating them.

Jalen Rose, who was guarding Kobe for most of that game, is still getting roasted for his inability to stop the Black Mamba. Can you really blame NBA Twitter for it, though?

The Raptors were at increased risk of getting burned by Kobe, as the fourth-best offense in the league was hampered by a 29th-ranked defense. With Mitchell floundering in the first full Raptors season following the Vince Carter trade, excellent seasons from Bosh, James, and Morris Peterson were wasted in a 27-win campaign. Kobe’s decimation led to Toronto winning just 13 games during the rest of the year, a losing streak that helped them get the No. 1 overall pick and select Andrea Bargnani.

Before the days of Nick Nurse and consistent winning, the Raptors were used as pommel horses for the rest of the league’s superstars, with Kobe’s legendary performance going to show just how deadly the immortal superstar was in his prime. Oddly enough, he always seemed to reach deep and pull out something extra during his games against Toronto.