It remains to this day the closest thing to the 100-point game.
On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant lit up the Toronto Raptors for 81 points at Staples Center in one of the most unforgettable games in the Los Angeles Laker legend's storied career.
"Not even in my dreams," Bryant said in an interview on NBA.com. "That was something that just happened. It's tough to explain. It's just one of those things."
After a ho-hum first half where he scored 26, Bryant torched the net for 27 points in the third quarter and 28 in the fourth, helping the Lakers surmount an 18-point deficit to beat the Raptors 122-104.
Bryant's feat — accomplished at a nondescript point of the NBA regular season — was so compelling that it overshadowed the NFL conference championship games on that day.
"We were just watching him shoot," said Chris Bosh, a Raptor then.
According to the NBA.com story, Phil Jackson, the Lakers head coach at the time, had planned to sit Bryant when he scored 77 points and the Lakers were well on its way to victory.
Wilt Chamberlain's 78 points was the second highest single-game scoring output at that point.
"Jackson reconsidered (pulling Bryant) after discussing it with Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen who told him, 'There would be a riot'," the story said.
Overall, Bryant made 28 of 46 from the field, including 7 of 13 from downtown, and 18-of-20 free throws.
Devin Booker is the only active player to come close to Bryant's production, after the Phoenix Suns guard tallied 70 in March 2017.
"That was something to behold. It was another level," Jackson said of the 81-point game. "I've seen some remarkable games, but I've never seen one like that before."
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