Kobe Bryant’s top 100 games: No. 45

·1 min read

In the late 1990s, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a lot of pain and frustration at the hands of the Utah Jazz, who knocked them out of the playoffs convincingly in 1997 and 1998.

But by the 2001-02 season, the tables had turned, as the Lakers were the two-time defending NBA champs while the Jazz were aging and declining.

On Nov. 4, 2001, the two teams went at it at Staples Center, and the Jazz showed a surprising amount of fight considering how old they were.

Los Angeles trailed for most of the contest and was down by as much as 19 in the second quarter.

After scoring 17 points in the first half to keep his team in contention, Kobe Bryant poured in 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers scratched and clawed their way to a 100-96 win.

He finished with 38 points on 13-of-21 shooting, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Shaquille O’Neal added 30 points.

For Utah, Karl Malone scored 26, but 39-year-old John Stockton looked every bit his age, going 4-of-12 from the field and finishing with six assists and six turnovers.

It was part of an opening flurry for the Lakers, as they started the season 16-1 and coasted to a third straight world title.


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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire