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Kobe Bryant’s 21-point, 13-assist game

Posted by Neil Paine on May 20, 2010

Last night, the Lakers were clinical again in their dissection of the Suns (except in the 3rd quarter, that is). Kobe Bryant wasn't even L.A.'s top scorer (Pau Gasol had 29 pts), but he completely controlled the flow of the game, and his facilitation made the Laker offense work (again, except in the 3rd quarter). Why do I keep bringing up the 3rd quarter? Maybe it was a coincidence, but the Suns' greatest success came in the period where Kobe had no assists -- Bryant had 9 in the first half, when L.A. staked itself to a 9-point lead; 0 in the 3rd quarter, when Phoenix roared back to tie the game; and 4 in the 4th, when the Lakers asserted themselves and re-took the lead for good.

Of course, that's not to say Kobe as a passer is always the best formula for Los Angeles -- after all, he had his typical 5 dimes in Game 1 of the series and was equally brilliant, scoring 40 points. But his facilitation was key for them last night, as their offense rose and fell based on Bryant's involvement as a playmaker and a scorer, sometimes simultaneously (Kevin Arnovitz has a good video about this very topic at True Hoop).

21-point, 13-assist games aren't exactly uncommon in the playoffs, but they are rare for non-PGs. Here's every such game since 1991 for players who didn't man the point:

Player Pos Date Tm Opp MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS TS%
Kobe Bryant G 5/19/2010 LAL PHO W 43 8 18 1 3 4 4 2 5 13 0 1 2 2 21 53.1
LeBron James F 5/12/2008 CLE BOS W 44 7 20 2 5 5 8 1 6 13 3 2 4 3 21 44.6
LeBron James F 5/2/2008 CLE @ WAS W 44 8 17 1 2 10 10 2 13 13 2 1 1 2 27 63.1
Tracy McGrady F 5/5/2007 HOU UTA L 42 12 25 0 4 5 9 0 5 13 0 3 2 1 29 50.1
Tracy McGrady F 4/30/2007 HOU UTA W 43 11 25 2 5 2 4 0 4 16 1 0 4 2 26 48.6
Dwyane Wade G 5/10/2005 MIA WAS W 40 10 15 0 2 11 19 1 7 15 3 2 7 2 31 66.4
Allen Iverson G 4/29/2005 PHI DET W 48 15 26 2 4 5 6 0 3 15 2 0 3 2 37 64.6
Allen Iverson G 5/20/2001 PHI TOR W 48 8 27 1 3 4 4 1 4 16 2 1 4 2 21 36.5
Michael Jordan G 6/2/1993 CHI @ NYK W 45 11 24 0 1 7 9 2 10 14 2 1 5 2 29 51.9
Clyde Drexler G 5/7/1992 POR PHO W 40 9 18 1 4 8 12 5 8 13 2 0 1 5 27 58.0
Michael Jordan G 6/9/1991 CHI @ LAL W 44 11 20 0 1 6 6 1 5 13 0 2 1 3 28 61.8
Michael Jordan G 6/5/1991 CHI LAL W 36 15 18 0 1 3 4 1 7 13 2 1 4 4 33 83.5
Clyde Drexler G 5/9/1991 POR UTA W 39 8 18 3 5 4 6 1 5 15 3 4 2 3 23 55.7

It's no coincidence that all but 1 of those games resulted in a team win (poor T-Mac); as we saw last night, when an uber-talented player like Bryant gets into one of these facilitation modes, it makes his offense nearly impossible to stop.

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8 Responses to “Kobe Bryant’s 21-point, 13-assist game”

  1. Jason J Says:

    Very few non-point guards in that list.

    3 - Jordan
    2 - Drexler
    2 - LeBron
    2 - McGrady
    1 - Bryant
    1 - Wade

  2. UB Says:

    #1:

    "21-point, 13-assist games aren't exactly uncommon in the playoffs, but they are rare for non-PGs. Here's every such game since 1991 for players who didn't man the point:"

  3. Mike G Says:

    Kobe assisted on 28.8% of his teammates' FG last night.
    In the '91 Finals, Jordan assisted 38% of his fellow Bulls' FG, over 5 games.
    He also scored 31% of Chi points.

    In that 14-Ast game vs NY ('93 G5), it was 48%. Plus 30% of their points.

  4. Jason J Says:

    Yeah, I realize that UB. I just wanted to point out d how few players there really were in that list. It's 13 playoff games but only 7 players (11 and 6 if you discount Iverson, which I did since he dominated the ball at the guard position which, to me, pretty much makes you the point guard even if you have a 75% usage rate).

  5. AYC Says:

    Wonder how many times Magic and Larry did it....

  6. Soothsayer Says:

    Jordan also accomplished this feat once prior to the 91 playoffs:

    6/2/89 vs. Pistons: 32 points, 13 assists

  7. P Middy Says:

    4/29/2005 - Iverson goes for 37 and 15 with only 3 turnovers!!! That's a hell of a game. Like a dumbass, I was probably out celebrating my birthday instead of watching playoffs. STUPID STUPID STUPID. When will I learn to never NOT watch playoffs.

  8. Jason J Says:

    You missed out, man. Iverson made the Vageta "you can't believe I'm this much of a shrimpy bad-ass with giant anime eyes" face the whole game. He also reached Super Sayan level 2 that game, glowing cornrows, floating debris all around him... It was boss.