Honoring Kobe Bryant’s 40th, a look back at the Mamba’s top 5 games versus OKC

Kobe Bryant, OKC Thunder (Photo by Dave Sandford /NBAE via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant, OKC Thunder (Photo by Dave Sandford /NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Kobe Bryant, OKC Thunder (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

April 30, 2010

Game 6, Lakers win 95-94 to capture series 4-2

Taking the top spot in this list is the closeout game from the 2010 Lakers – Thunder series. Although it’s not Bryant’s highest-scoring game against OKC the complete game he produced earns it top billing. For the young Thunder, a win in this game would’ve evened the series and forced a Game 7, but Bryant wasn’t having it. He shot an efficient 12 of 25 from the field which was necessary given he only got to the line seven times (connecting on five). In fact, those seven free throws represented half of the Lakers’ entire team’s chances at the charity stripe.

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Bryant also grabbed seven rebounds and three assists. Although never known as a highly efficient perimeter shooter the Mamba’s three of four from deep kept the Thunder defense on its toes and opened the lanes for drives from Bryant.

His 32 points represented 33 percent of the Lakers scoring in this closeout game which was much closer than LA had hoped it would be entering the match. Uncharacteristically, Bryant was the dominant scorer in the final frame which allowed the Thunder to push the envelope coming ever so close to capturing the victory. Bryant elected instead to focus on defense to shut down the Thunder and spent time covering all of OKC’s big three.

Durant shot horribly in this game connecting on only five shots from the field (5 of 23) although he did get to the line 17 times. Westbrook wasn’t much better shooting 7 of 20 while once again Harden struggled, scoring just two points.

It was a lesson by the master and one for the ages that the young OK3 and company would never forget.

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As the Black Mamba enjoys his retirement and prepares to blow out candles on his 40th birthday, we at Thunderous Intentions thank him for the memories and wish him a wonderful year.