January 11, 2012- Kobe Bryant, for many, has not been his normal self to start the strike shortened NBA season. His wrist injury has bothered him and his output has been down. That changed Tuesday night as he placed the team squarely on his shoulders and carried them to victory. Bryant scored 16 fourth quarter points during crunch time to down the Phoenix Suns 99-83.
The Lakers looked in disarray for the game. One player was too sick to suit up, one was distracted by the birth of his twin daughters and another was struggling with a toe injury. Kobe did what he has done so many times previously. He turned back the age clock and looked like he had just come out of high school with his performance Tuesday night against the Suns.
Bryant sank 18 out of 31 shots from the field and 12 of the 13 he took from the charity stripe. His 48-point outburst was the highest single game total of any player thus far this season in the league. It was also his highest scoring game since he dropped 49 against the same Suns team in March of 2009. It was his 108th game of scoring 40 or more points in his career.
What is amazing is that he performed so well even though he has torn ligaments in his right wrist, an injury that would normally require surgery and months of rehabilitation. For now, Bryant says he can live with the pain. If Tuesday’s game was any indication, the wrist injury should not bother him as he and the Lakers begin the New Year.