Retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant turned in his best game of the season in Washington on Wednesday night.
In his last professional game in D.C., Bryant turned in a season-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting, nailing the Lakers’ final two field goals of the game to send them to a 108–104 victory for their third of the season.
Almost fittingly, in the same building where Michael Jordan played out his own final days as a professional, Bryant, who will retire at the end of the season, gave the Lakers a 101–99 lead on a pull-up three from the left wing over Marcin Gortat.
After Gortat tied it at 101 on the other end, it was Bryant again with the answer, taking Bradley Beal off the dribble for another pull-up, this one from midrange, for a 103-101 lead his team would never relinquish.
Bryant posted 12 fourth-quarter points, shouldering the Lakers another time and putting a temporary halt to the less-than flattering discourse that has followed his high-volume, sometimes frustrating shot selection this season. There’s no telling exactly how much is left in the tank for the next five months, but on Wednesday, Kobe was Kobe. And it was legitimately fun to watch.
The Lakers moved to 3–15 with the win, with the Wizards falling to 7–9.