Leave it to Kobe Bryant to move past Shaquille O’Neal in style.
As if scripted, the Lake Show stopped in Kobe’s hometown of Philly at the midpoint on their six-game road trip. Coming into the contest KB24 needed 24 to move past Shaq for 5th on the all-time scoring list.
The setup was straight out of a Hollywood feature script but Bryant’s sense of drama was boiled down to an Oscar nominated short. Kobe crammed all 24 of those points into an electric first half. This was one of those moments when he was out to set the tone.
The 76ers are the league’s best defensive team this season but they were defenseless against a motivated Mamba. Kobe was pulling up a good 3 feet behind the 3-point line. And when he wasn’t making it rain with triples Bryant was abusing anybody who dared check him by sinking off-balance jumpers.
In all the Lakers scored 50 as a team taking a four point lead into the locker room. Nearly half of those points came courtesy of Kobe. Knowing what the moment meant, Derek Fisher embraced Kobe and offered some congratulatory words.
In an amazing 24 minutes of hoops, Kobe put Shaq in the rearview and now turns his sights on Wilt Chamberlain for the #4 spot. But that moment will have to wait until next year. Bryant might be the league’s leading scorer but there is just no chance he’ll catch Wilt the Stilt in 2012. So for now he’ll just have to concentrate on getting a W tonight while once again getting one-up on O’Neal.