Mavs React To Kobe's Big Night
When news of Kobe Bryant's 81 against the Raptors spread through the Rose Garden's visiting locker room, the Mavericks' relief over outlasting the Blazers in overtime was replaced by amazement at Bryant's feat.
Amazement, but by no means shock.
That's because the Mavs saw Kobe score 62 on them just a month ago in 33 minutes of a 112-90 Lakers' rout. Mavs guard Darrell Armstrong stabbed his finger at a partial box score showing Kobe had 41 midway through the third quarter against Toronto.
"Imagine if our game had been close," Armstrong said, suggesting that had Bryant not sat the entire fourth quarter he might've had more than 81 that night.
More than anything, the Mavs were simply curious how Kobe put together the second highest scoring effort in NBA history, eclipsing all except Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for Philadelphia against the Knicks in 1962. Only coach Avery Johnson showed more interest in the Sonics' 152-149 double overtime win over the Suns, perhaps because the Mavs play in Seattle on Thursday. But while Johnson marveled at the Sonics winning despite only 40 points in the paint and Luke Ridnour getting 30, the rest of the team looked to dissect Bryant's performance.
"How many times did he get to the line?" asked Jerry Stackhouse (a relatively modest 18-of-20).
"How many assists?" asked Keith Van Horn. "He didn't have any against us" (two assists, three turnovers).
"He took 47 shots?" asked Devin Harris (actually, 46, making 28).
Someone asked Dirk Nowitzki if he could top 82. "I don't think that would be good from a team standpoint," Nowitzki said.
Stackhouse finished buttoning his shirt and shook his head in pure admiration. "You'd think the Super Bowl would lead 'SportsCenter' tonight," he said. "But you know it won't. It can't. Kobe will. He has to."
-- Ric Bucher in Portland