Kobe Bryant’s top 100 games: No. 67
The 1999-2000 season was the first time Kobe Bryant was universally considered a star, if not the best all-around player in the game.
But that season, he was still somewhat holding back and deferring to Shaquille O’Neal, who had a season for the ages.
Late in the season, Bryant had one of his first scoring explosions, and it was a glimpse of what was to come from him for years afterward.
It came against the Sacramento Kings on March 12, the team that would soon become the Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest rivals.
Los Angeles trailed for most of the game, but Bryant kept them in it with 18 points in the first half and 28 through three quarters.
Bryant then scored a dozen more points in the fourth quarter as the Purple and Gold mounted a monster rally and won, 109-106.
He finished with 40 points, and it was the first time he hit that mark in a single game. The 21-year-old also added 10 rebounds and eight assists.
It was the first act of the brewing rivalry between L.A. and Sacramento that would somewhat define that era of Lakers basketball, and Bryant made it clear that the Lakers would always have the upper hand for the next few years.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire