On a sunny Sunday afternoon in March of 2008, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant put on a scoring bonanza for a glittery Staples Center crowd. The Lakers triumphed on this day behind a blistering 52-point performance from Bryant at the peak of his powers. Both the Lakers and Mavs were in the honeymoon period of franchise altering trades that would eventually bring championship success—Pau Gasol for the Lakers and Jason Kidd for the Mavs. This adjustment period created the perfect scenario for two hall of fame talents to shoulder a larger scoring load.
Bryant wielded his entire scoring repertoire with intricate footwork in the post mixed in with decisive pull up jumpers. He's always had a penchant for exorbitant scoring outings against the Mavs, and on this afternoon, it was no different. He instilled a visceral level of fear every time the ball left his hand in the fourth quarter. The Mamba scored 31 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, but Dirk was there to match him every step of the way. The Big German put up 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime including a delicious game-tying three with two seconds to go.
Kobe will be retiring at season's end and we'll never get to experience the pure existential dread caused by a torrential downpour of Kobe shots falling against the Mavs. Dirk won't be far behind him, so let's enjoy these two mega stars while we can.