Kobe Bryant drops 35 points in Lakers' loss to the Rockets

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The Kobe Bryant retirement tour is reaching its climax. There are only two more games to go in the L.A. Lakers great's career before he calls time on his 20-year spell in the NBA. 

It has not been one of his better seasons. The same can most certainly be said for the franchise as a whole. But during his final game in Houston, as the purple and gold faced the Rockets at the Toyota Center, there were some vintage Mamba moments from the 37-year-old. 

His 35 points were not enough for the Lakers, who fell to their 64th defeat of the season, but it was certainly a night to celebrate all that Bryant has brought to the league throughout his career. 

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James Harden may have scored 40 points as the Rockets won by 20, but there was no denying the night was all about one the Lakers' most decorated players. Kobe shot 10 of 22 from the field and produced his signature fadeaway jumper - a move that proved so effective throughout his career - a number of times in Houston. 

The 2008 Most Valuable Player also showed his usual fight and grit in the paint on a number of occasions. He also threatened to throw down a dunk in the third quarter before laying the ball in for two.

But arguably the most enjoyable sight of Bryant's night was seeing him hit four threes, including two from what could be considered Stephen Curry range. 

The five-time champion has struggled throughout the season from behind the arc is averaging below 30 percent for only the third season where he has played over 40 games in his career. 

He nailed a three-point shot with just 40 seconds left of the first quarter, over the outstretched arm of Trevor Ariza to take his tally to 13 for the night. 

Bryant showed impressive range again in the third quarter as he once again shot over Ariza. He sent the crowd into rapturous applause with the clock running down in the quarter the Rockets' man and shot a three - his third time over the forward during the game - after a brilliant step back. 

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It was not the result fans would have hoped for but it was certainly the calibre of performance that supports wanted to see from Kobe before he retired. 

Having seen the images of Bryant wearing heavy ice during the back to back losses to the L.A. Clippers, it was good to see the 18-time All-Star show he could still put on a spectacle. 

It was the second-highest scoring game of the season for the Black Mamba. He scored 38 in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the beginning of February. It was also the second time he had scored over 30 points in his previous five outings. 

Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division

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