Los Angeles Lakers

This Date in NBA History (March 23): Kobe Bryant's 4th straight 50-point game, Kevin Love-Russell Westbrook's epic duel in 2012 & more

On March 23rd in 2007, Kobe Bryant scored 50 points in a road win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Fresh off dropping 60 in Memphis, 24 hours earlier, Bryant joined an illustrious list of Wilt Chamberlain (multiple), Elgin Baylor (1962), Bernard King (1984), and Michael Jordan (1987) to score 50 or more on consecutive nights.

This was, in fact, his fourth 50-point game in as many games, a feat only Chamberlain had previously achieved.

In this 111-105 win against the Hornets, Bryant went a perfect 16-of-16 from the free-throw line while knocking down 16 of his 29 (55.2%) field goal attempts. He also finished with seven rebounds, a block, and was a +12 in nearly 47 minutes of action.

Bryant's four-game 50-point streak was snapped when he finished with 43 in a close 115-113 win at home against the Golden State Warriors. Wrapping up the month with a 53-point game in a close loss against the Houston Rockets, he went on to average 40.4 points in 13 games over the course of March.

Bryant would drop a couple more 50-point games in April, to finish with 10 for the 2006-07 season.

Love duels with Thunder's superstar duo in OKC

On March 23rd in 2012, Kevin Love went off for a career-high and then franchise-record 51 points in a double-overtime showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He also finished with 14 rebounds but his career-game came in a loss as the hosts were led by big nights from their superstar duo in Kevin Durant (40p/17r/5a/3s) and Russell Westbrook (45p/6a/4r/2s).

Despite the loss, this game wouldn't have gone on for so long if it wasn't for heroics from Love and Durant. First, the Timberwolves forward knocked down a clutch three, with just one second left in regulation, in reply to Durant's three to force overtime.

In the first overtime period, after Love scored eight of the team's 13 points, the Timberwolves were by leading by three points in the closing seconds and that's when Durant knocked down a clutch three to force double-overtime.

In double-overtime, Russell Westbrook scored nine of his team-high 45 points as the Thunder sealed it by blowing out the Timberwolves 20-11 in the second extra session.

Other notable events on March 23rd

  • In 1979, the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets replayed the final 17:50 of their contest that was originally played on November 8, 1978. In between, both teams had traded a couple of players to each other - Harvey Catchings and Ralph Simpson (76ers -> Nets), Eric Money and Al Skinner (Nets -> 76ers). It's the only time in the history of professional sports that any player has played for both teams in the same game.
  • In 1994, Isiah Thomas became the fourth guard in NBA history to dish out 9,000 assists.
  • In 2001, Keon Clark recorded a career-high 12 blocks, off the bench, as part of the Toronto Raptors' NBA-record 24 block game in a 112-86 win against the Atlanta Hawks.
  • In 2006, Dirk Nowitzki scored 51 points against the Golden State Warriors in a 122-121 home loss. The German's outburst was two points short of his career-high but was undone by Jason Richardson's last-second game-winner.

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