More hard times for the Lakers awaited.
A second consecutive first-round flameout to the Phoenix Suns. A frustrated Kobe Bryant demanding a trade. A fanbase and a star both wondering if the Lakers would ever restore their championship mettle.
But before that happened in the 2007 offseason, Bryant treated everyone with yet another glorious season where he scored at will. As the NBA’s highlight video shows above, Bryant’s league-leading 31.6 points per game came on a variety of jaw-dropping plays.
Bryant nailed a 35-foot three-pointer against the Boston Celtics just before the third quarter ended. Bryant crossed over former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming for a one-handed dunk. These plays don’t fall into the scoring category. But Bryant also set up Lamar Odom for a layup by passing between his legs, and stuffed former Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams on a fast-break dunk attempt.
But most of the Lakers’ 2006-07 season featured Bryant’s scoring. He dropped a season-high 65 points against Portland, only to follow that up with 50 points two days later against Minnesota. That marked the first time an NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963 posted at least 60 points and then at least 50 in back-to-back games. Bryant also became the second player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in four consecutive games.
All those good times for Lakers fans abruptly ended with the first-round loss and Bryant’s subsequent trade demands. But they enjoyed it while it lasted.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at email@example.com