Miss your NBA fix last night? In three minutes or less, TDC’s The Tip Off gives you the brief rundown of the standout stat lines, exciting finishes and some rarities that went down on the hardwood last night. On a busy evening where you miss the live action and/or the scintillating thrill of NBA Twitter scrolling, we have done the work for you and compiled notable lines and events. This one’s for Kobe.
Spend three minutes reading this every day to keep up with the Association and have enough knowledge and nuggets to be in the loop with casual fans as well as the ability to toss out a few specific stats and oddities an avid fan may have missed.
B-ball Date: 1/26/2020 as reported by Sam Johnson, video by Sam Shin
In honor of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away on Sunday, the following article will be a Kobe-centric version of The Tip Off.
- Trae Young had had 45 points as Atlanta defeated Washington 152-133. As fate would have it, the highest (team) scoring game Kobe Bryant ever participated in was also against Washington in 2006 – where he also had 45 points, attempted 24 field goals and also attempted 11 3PTA (same as Trae) in a 141-147 defeat. Kobe finished that game with 45 PTS, 10 ASTS, 8 REBS and 7 3PTM.
- Pascal Siakam had a career-high 20 points in the first quarter on his way to 35 points and a narrow victory over the Spurs. Perhaps surprisingly, Kobe had his career high points in a quarter not during his epic 81-point outburst against Toronto, but rather two different times (‘05 and ‘06) when he put up 30 points in the third quarter each time. In those games he finished with a bit more than 35, pouring in 52 and 62 respectively, the latter being a 112-90 victory over Dallas in just three quarters. 62 points on 31 FGA and just 33 minutes of action. Had this game not been a blowout, you really wonder what type of damage could have been done (another 80 spot…or more?).
- Nikola Jokic had a 24-point triple-double as the Nuggets defeated the Rockets by 7. Kobe had grueling 7-game series with both of these teams at different points of his career and came out ahead each time. In fact, he and the Lakers were 3-0 against both Houston and Denver in his playoff career, perhaps most notable was the 4-2 2009 Western Conference Finals victory over Denver on their way to their first post-Shaq title. (Kobe also logged his final triple-double against Denver)
- Zion Williamson logged his first career NBA double-double (21PTS 11 REBS) as the Pelicans defeated the Celtics 123-108. Kobe’s first career-double double was at age 20 in his first game of the season, when he had 25 points and 10 boards in an eight-point victory over the Rockets.
- Damian Lillard is on one right now, tossing in another 50 points last night and has now scored 158 points in his last three games (52.7 PPG). This stretch reminds me of the nastiest of Kobe’s point streaks, where he scored 50+ in four straight games (65, 50, 60, 50). Most people know the absurdity that was Wilt’s 50 PPG season, but did you know when adjusted for pace, in 2005-06 Kobe actually has the highest scoring average in NBA history? Adjusted to 100 possessions per game, Kobe sits atop the list at 38.9 PPG just edging out MJ and Wilt.
Quirks of the Night
- Maybe my favorite goofy Kobe moments were the LeBron-Kobe Nike puppet commercials featuring Kobe jumping into a car, LeBron tossing chalk into his face repeatedly, and my personal favorite with Kobe cleverly flaunting his (then) three championship rings by making a scene about misplacing them. The link below has all of the fantastic commercials.
- Maybe I’m in the minority but I didn’t realize Kobe had a secret rap career. Check out the story if you are so inclined.
- The Raptors defense during Kobe’s epic 81-point performance as Sam Mitchell (in)famously refused to send a double team as Kobe was scorching all of Canada. Please go give the box score from this game a quick glance as it truly looks like a typo, something you wouldn’t even see in a video game.
- The 2009 Cavaliers for falling to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, robbing us of the much-hyped but never seen LeBron-Kobe Finals showdown. Unless you were a Magic fan, I think you were definitely left disappointed to not get the clash of the titans that we all desired and deserved.
NBA Twitter Table Talk
- The Raptors and Spurs traded turns taking a 24 second violation to begin their game in honor of Kobe Bryant’s number 24. Later the Magic and Clippers would make a similar gesture where LAC took a 24 second violation and then the Magic took an 8 second (backcourt) violation to open the game.
- Trae Young came out wearing #8 to start his game, before later switching back to his own #11 (and dropping 45 points in a true homage to Kobe Bryant)
- Chris Mannix suggested the All-Star jerseys all be #8 for LeBron’s team and #24 for Giannis’ in memory of Kobe at the All-Star game in Chicago this year.
- Mark Cuban has already announced that no Dallas Maverick will wear #24 in tribute to Kobe Bryant.