Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant's Outburst Was the Best Individual Performance of the 2012-13 Season

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 09:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives past Xavier Henry #4 of the New Orleans Hornets  at Staples Center on April 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 104-96.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Sam QuinnContributor IIIApril 11, 2013

LeBron James' 40-point, 16-assist gem against Sacramento was awesome. So was Stephen Curry's explosion at the Garden. There were plenty of amazing performances this year, but none matched what Kobe Bryant just did.

With the entire season on the line, Kobe Bryant showed us why he is one of the the greatest players of all time. The line? 47 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks, three steals.

I mean...really? It shouldn't be possible for a 34-year-old to dominate so thoroughly. There was not an aspect of the game in which he did not excel. 

The rebounding was great, as was the passing. The steals and blocks were just as huge. But when it came down to it, Kobe did what Kobe does best: score. He scored better than he has all year, topping his season high with a ridiculous 47 points. 

Remember, this was a close game throughout. Portland led most of the way, Steve Nash was out and the entire team is banged up. Any misstep and the Lakers would have lost

And he did it at the not-so-friendly confines of the Rose Garden. The Lakers are 4-17 in their last 21 trips to Portland. By the end of the game, he had the crowd chanting "MVP!"

Take all of that, and remember that the Lakers probably have to win three of the final four games (including tonight) just to make the playoffs, and we see what makes Kobe's performance so incredible. With everything on the line, Kobe was at his best. Just like he always is. 

Oh, and he was at his best for the entire game. As in, he never sat. A quick glance at the box score shows what you probably could have predicted before the game: Kobe played all 48 minutes. 

Had LeBron scored 50 points to save Miami's winning streak, he might have an argument. If Carmelo's 50-pointer had come against the fully loaded version of the Heat he might as well. But ultimately, there just wasn't much meaning in their best performances.

Kobe's meant everything. Without Kobe's outburst, the Lakers might be on the outside of the playoffs looking in right now. He could have just single-handedly saved the Lakers' season. 

When you combine the stats and the importance of the game, Kobe's performance tops anything done by anyone else in the league this season. Heck, it's one of the best games he's played in his entire career. 

Take a bow, Kobe. Or if you prefer (as I'm guessing you would), grab an ice pack and take a nice long nap. However you choose to celebrate, just know that it was well deserved. 

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