“As Unstoppable as a Woman’s Tears”

Gatinho —  January 23, 2006

A game like last night’s makes me wish that Jim Murray, legendary Times columnists, was still alive to immortalize it with his brilliant ability to capture a moment.

The above title is how Jim described Elgin Baylor in his playing days and seems more than apropos for last night’s stupefying performance.

Runners, floaters, threes, fade-aways, dunks, free throws… Was it the Raptor defense? It was if you’re talking about guys named Odom, Parker, George, and Vujacic.

Zone defense: As in, “Kobe’s in a zone, where’s the defense?”

Use the Force: I’ve pondered keeping track of how may times Kobe “forced” shots in a game. I’ve always thought it’s not how much he shoots, it’s how he shoots, i.e. within the offense. That all quickly flew out the window. What exactly is a forced shot on a night like last night?

A little insight: On Wilt’s big night, it is rumored that the promoter for the game in Hershey wanted Wilt, with the collusion/cooperation of his teammates, to try to get as many points as possible.

His 78 point game was a triple overtime affair.

David Thompson’s 73 came as he was locked in a last night of the season scoring battle with George Gervin.

David Robinson had 9 guys (your Los Angeles Clippers) helping him eclipse 70, so he could overtake a young Shaquille O’Neal on the final night of the season for the scoring crown.

None of these things can be said about Kobe’s Herculian feat. No premeditation. No help from the other team. No scoring title on the line. No sideshow atmosphere of a game played in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Just willing his listless team to a W.

I’m sure Murray and Chick were sitting in the Big Forum Club in the Sky, sharing a smile and a chuckle, spouting desriptions and insights we all wish we were still privy to.

It will resonate in your head for a long time to come. 81 points.