On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 91-81 at Staples Center in Kobe Bryant's penultimate game at Staples Center.
In the first quarter, Bryant came out shooting nearly every time he touched the ball. Bryant only scored six points in 22 minutes on Tuesday night against the same Clippers' team. One night later, Bryant had 10 points in his first nine minutes on the court, and the home crowd at Staples Center begged the 37-year-old to shoot every time he touched the ball.
Fueled by Bryant, the Lakers stayed competitive with the Clippers for the first quarter, as both teams stayed within four points of one another over the first 12 minutes. Blake Griffin, who had only recently returned to the team after fracturing his hand and the suspension related to that broken hand, led the Clipper with 11 points in the opening quarter.
The second period remained competitive for the bulk of the quarter. However, the Clippers finished the first half on a 14-2 run to take a 12-point lead into the locker room at the halftime intermission.
In the third period, Bryant again found his rhythm and scored seven points in the quarter. However, the Clippers extended their lead to start the second half and opened up a 17-point advantage at one point in the quarter. A late third quarter flurry helped the Lakers cut that deficit down to 12 points, as both teams scored 19 points in the period.
The fourth quarter featured the Lakers hovering down double digits as fans screamed and shouted for Bryant to return to the game for a final spell. With fewer than five minutes remaining in the game, Lakers coach Byron Scott called no. 24, and Bryant came back in for one more run at Staples Center against the Clippers.
When the final buzzer sounded, Bryant finished with 17 points, which was a game-high, in 27 minutes, as the Lakers lost their 62nd game of the season--setting a new franchise record.
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Next, Bryant and the Lakers hit the road for a three-game road trip before returning home for Bryant's NBA finale on April 13, 2016.
Notes: Julius Randle finished with 20 rebounds, which set a new career-high. D'Angelo Russell beat Nick Van Exel's Lakers rookie record, 123, when he hit his first three-point shot in the fourth quarter.