(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant had another game for the record books on Sunday night and it was against a team that is already tied to another historic game in his career, the 81 point game that he scored against the same Toronto Raptors in 2006. Bryant registered a triple-double against the Raptors to help the Lakers to a 129-122 win in overtime.
The triple-double was Bryant’s 20th in his career. What makes this game record book worthy is that Bryant also dished out his 6,000 career assist in the game making him the first player in NBA history to ever score 30,000 points and 6,000 assists.
Another record achieved by Bryant on Sunday:
At 36 years, 99 days old, Kobe became the oldest to have at least 30p/10a/10r in a game. Previously, it was Larry Bird (35 years, 99 days).
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 1, 2014
Bryant’s complete line on the night was 31 points, 12 assist and 11 rebounds. Bryant looked for his teammates early, surpassing his season high with 8 assists in the first half alone; the then looked to be more aggressive offensively late, scoring 14 points in the 4th and overtime combined. Struggling with efficiency all season, Bryant finished the night a much improved 46 percent from the field on 11 for 24 from the field.
“The difference is that when the guys make the shots, it makes my job easier because I don’t have to force the offense. When they miss them and we go down 12-15 points, I’ve got to force the issue a little bit to keep us in the ballgame.” Bryant said after the game.
The Lakers had a chance to end the game in regulation but Bryant missed the 2nd of his 2 free throws with 34 seconds to play in regulation, leaving the scored tied at 109. Bryant again had a another shot to end the game in regulation but he loses the ball when colliding with Jonas Valanciunas in the paint and does not get the foul call as time expires.
The Lakers had 6 players finish in double figures including Bryant. Nick Young scored 20 points off the bench, Carlos Boozer had 18, Wes Johnson had 13 and Jeremy Lin had 11. Jordan Hill finished with his 9th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Hill is tied for 5th in the NBA in double-doubles.
The Raptors were led by Kyle Lowry who scored 29 points and ended with a team high 9 assists. Grievis Vasquez filled in as a starter for the injured DeMar DeRozen and scored 19 points on 8 for 16 from the field. Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson each grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the team on the night.
The win improves the Lakers record to 4-13 which still keeps them at the bottom of the Western Conference, but things are starting to look better going forward in terms of the difficulty of the upcoming schedule. The Lakers begin a 3 game road trip on Tuesday, starting with the Detroit Pistons, followed by the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and closing their trip in Boston on Friday to face the Celtics. The Lakers are undefeated in 3 tries against the Eastern Conference this season.