Kobe Raps To A Steady 50 Beat
Sunday, March 25th 2007, 3:13 pm
News On 6
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe can't miss.
Be it jump shots or floaters, 3-pointers or free throws, Kobe Bryant is on target with almost every shot he's taking these days -- or so it seems.
"I see everything in slow motion, like I never have before," the Los Angeles Lakers star said. "Pretty trippy."
Heading into Sunday night's game at home against the Golden State Warriors, Bryant had scored at least 50 points in four straight games to join the late Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to accomplish such a feat.
"I've said that the coolest thing about it is for the younger generation to get the chance to understand more about the golden greats and what they've done, to understand that there was basketball before Jordan and Magic and Bird," Bryant said.
Chamberlain set the record of seven straight games in December 1961. He also had a five-game streak and three four-game streaks during the 1961-62 season, when he averaged a record 50.4 points.
"It's just mind-boggling stuff," Bryant said of Chamberlain's accomplishments.
Chamberlain's most productive four-game streak came from Feb. 25 to March 2, 1962, when he scored 67, 65, 61 and 100 for a total of 293 points. Bryant scored 225 in his four-game streak, shooting 76-140 (54.3%) from the floor and 56-60 (93.3%) from the foul line.
Bryant's recent streak has raised his season field goal percentage to 46.7% and his scoring average to an NBA-leading 30.8 points. Now in his 11th season, the 28-year-old Bryant won his first scoring title last year, averaging 35.4 points.
"I've seen guys score and guys do a lot of things, but the shooting's been remarkable," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships in the 1990s.
Bryant began his 50-point streak on March 16, scoring an NBA season-high 65 points in an overtime victory over Minnesota. He kept it going against Portland (50), Memphis (60) and New Orleans (50) as the Lakers matched their longest winning streak of the season.
Bryant sat out less than 3 minutes Thursday night in Memphis, and only 68 seconds Friday night at New Orleans. He missed the entire exhibition season and the first two games of the regular season while recovering from knee surgery.
"I paced myself from the beginning of the season, just being smart with it," he said. "You don't want to rush back and overexert yourself. You have to be patient and get yourself in the proper condition on a daily basis.
"I feel great. I feel fantastic."
Entering Sunday night, Bryant had scored at least 50 points on 18 occasions in his career to rank third on the NBA list. Chamberlain had 118 games of 50 or more points, and Jordan accomplished the feat 31 times.
Bryant began his streak following his team's seven-game losing streak -- the longest of Jackson's career as a head coach.
"We wanted to open up the floor a little bit and put the ball in my hands and have me be more assertive and just have the rest of the team kind of follow suit from there," Bryant said. "(Jackson) has been encouraging me to face up, take the shots as soon as they're there, not wait, and that's what I've been trying to do."
Teammate Jordan Farmar is among those blown away by Bryant's streak.
"He's just the best," the 20-year-old rookie said. "He's just doing what he thinks will help us win. That's a sign of greatness."