By JOHN NADEL, AP Sports Writer
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Kobe Bryant practiced Tuesday for the first time since his astonishing performance against the Toronto Raptors, and was tagged with a new nickname.
"Just calling me 81," he said of his teammates.
Perhaps that should be Mr. 81.
Bryant said the reality of reaching that point total Sunday night in the Los Angeles Lakers' 122-104 victory over the Raptors still hadn't sunk in, and made it clear he didn't expect a repeat performance any time soon.
"It's just one of those things that doesn't seem real to me," he said. "It's just tough for it to sink in. I'm focused on the task that lies ahead for us.
"The way I'm playing of late, I don't think it's an indication of how we're going to be playing the rest of the season. We had a stretch earlier this season where I didn't have to score the ball like that for us to win. I look forward to going back to that."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson expressed a similar sentiment, saying: "A team has to have some sense of balance."
Nevertheless, Jackson said he had no problem whatsoever with Bryant dominating the action the way he did against the Raptors, when he shot 28-of-46, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, and 18-of-20 from the foul line.
"If you were there at the game, I think everybody understands how we won," Jackson said. "He got into a rhythm -- it was just a landslide."
Bryant scored 55 points in the second half as the Lakers (22-19) outscored the Raptors 73-41, turning a 14-point halftime deficit into an 18-point victory.
Bryant has averaged 44.5 points in 10 games this month in leading the Lakers to a 7-3 record. He is averaging an NBA-best 35.9 points this season.
Wilt Chamberlain holds the league's single-game scoring record, getting 100 points for Philadelphia against the New York Knicks at Hershey, Pa., on March 2, 1962.
Bryant became the second player in history to surpass the 80-point plateau and the fifth to reach 70, joining Chamberlain, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and David Robinson.
Coincidentally, the 27-year-old Lakers' star scored a season-low 11 points in a 102-91 triumph over the Raptors on Dec. 7 in Toronto.
The Lakers return to action Friday night, entertaining Golden State before beginning a seven-game road trip Sunday in Detroit.
Bryant said the Hall of Fame had called and asked for the shoes he wore in Sunday night's game.
When asked if he would comply, Bryant seemed stunned, replying: "The Hall of Fame? You serious? They're so gone."
WOW, the Hall of Fame, Bryant is quielty becoming part and a very big one of the elite club only great ones reach.
Good jobe Kobe!