The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting to grab the West's last spot in the playoffs and rescue their season from utter disaster. After Kobe Bryant's fourth-quarter heroics in Tuesday night's win over the New Orleans Hornets, the Lakers were faced with a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back. A win would push them a game ahead of the Utah Jazz — a loss would drop them back into a tie for eighth place (which means missing out on the playoffs, because the Jazz hold the tiebreaker advantage). That's a stiff challenge for an aging team, particularly given the heavy minutes logged by Bryant and others in this final push towards the postseason.
In true Kobe fashion, the Lakers star simply pushed himself farther and took on an even bigger burden to lift his team to a 113-106 win. Playing the full 48 minutes, Bryant scored a season-high 47 points on 14 of 27 shooting from the floor and a perfect 18 of 18 mark from the free-throw line. In addition to setting a new personal high for 2012-13, Kobe set the all-time record for an opponent at the Rose Garden, topping a 44-point performance in January 2011 by LeBron James.
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Bryant also added eight rebounds, five assists (against a single turnover), four blocks, and three steals to fill out the stat sheet. It's hard to imagine anyone other than LeBron himself doing more to help his team win, and Kobe just happens to be a 34-year-old playing a position at which players typically don't age gracefully.
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