Another Throwback Thursday, another Kobe Bryant memory. For this particular Throwback Thursday we travel all the way back to 1999-2000 season when Bryant notched his first ever 40-point game against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings witnessed a domination by arguably one of the best one-two punches in NBA history and foreshadowed one of the best seven-game series that would come two seasons later.
Bryant nearly finished with a triple-double as he also totaled 10 rebounds and eight assists. Shaquille O’Neal also had a huge game as he chipped in with 39 points and 20 rebounds.
The Lakers started the game a little slow as they trailed by nine after the first quarter, but soon after Bryant and O’Neal took matters into their own hands. The Kings simply had no answer for either player. It also should be noted that the win earned the Lakers their 18th consecutive victory, a feat that only a handful of teams have come close to achieving.
Sacramento had six players finish in double-digit scoring, highlighted by Chris Webber’s 24 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds. The Kings at the time were loaded, with players like Webber, Vlade Divac, Jason Williams, Peja Stojakovic, and Doug Christie. They were not an easy team to match up against because of the weapons they possessed.
The early 2000’s marked the beginning of a great rivalry between the Lakers and the Kings. The pinnacle of the rivalry culminated during the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Many fans remember that series like it was yesterday. The Kings had the best record in the NBA that season as Webber and Mike Bibby primarily carried the team. The seven-game series featured many fascinating moments from Bibby’s clutch jumper in Game 5 to Robert Horry’s memorable three-pointer from the top of the arc in Game 4 to tie the series at two games apiece.
It was always fun to watch Bryant play against the Kings because deep down he was doing everything he could to come out on top. Some of his top performances and clutch shots (New Year’s Day 2010) came at the expense of the Kings, which made them even more enjoyable.