Making his final trip as a player to Sacramento, Kobe Bryant put on a show Thursday night, scoring 28 points (on 10-of-18 shooting) through three quarters of action.<
Kobe says Vlade Divac gave him a No. 8 Hornets jersey as a retirement gift. KB was drafted by Charlotte but traded to the Lakers for Divac.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 8, 2016
The Black Mamba became the youngest in NBA history to reach the 33,000-point mark, joining Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in that ultra-exclusive club.
Bryant, 37, sat out the fourth quarter and watched as his much younger teammates nearly pull off an improbable comeback against the Kings.
Ultimately, Sac-Town was able to hold on for a 118-115 win against their visiting rivals.
Per the LA Daily News:
After once trailing by as many as 24 points, the Lakers went on a 46-18 run. They can thank (D’Angelo) Russell, their rookie point guard who posted a career-high 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, four assists and two steals before leaving the game as the Lakers led 113-112 with 1:46 left shortly nursing what the Lakers called a moderately sprained right ankle. He awkwardly landed after making a late layup against Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Russell tried to play through it before telling Lakers coach Byron Scott, “I can’t run.” […] X-rays turned out negative, though Russell conceded uncertainty on if he will play in Friday’s game against Oklahoma City at Staples Center.
When he reflects on this game years from now, Bryant may mostly remember the cheers mostly drowning out the boos and cowbells during starting lineup introductions. Then, Bryant looked at the Kings’ retired jerseys, including Vlade Divac, Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic, and shook his head. […] “I’m looking up there and going, ‘It felt like yesterday I was just playing against them,’” Bryant recalled saying. “With their numbers retired, what the hell am I still doing here?’ If I hadn’t decided to retire now, that would’ve made me retire immediately.”
Or maybe Bryant will remember this marked the game in which he became the youngest player to eclipse 33,000 points after missing the past three contests because of soreness in his right shoulder. Bryant also threw down an alley-oop dunk from (Jordan) Clarkson in the second quarter in what Scott called a “young man moment.” […] Said Scott: “I told him, ‘Hey, didn’t we talk about no more dunking?’” Said Bryant: “I told him, ‘Two hands, I’m okay.’ I went to the basket earlier in the game and I thought about dunking it. My legs felt fine. But then I felt my shoulder. I’m not going to chance it.”