Although ultimately this has been a dark day for the Los Angeles Lakers with the team learning that center Andrew Bynum has a torn MCL and will be out for two to three months, Kobe Bryant changed the mood in Lakerland and New York City by putting on a classic and historic scoring display at Madison Square Garden.
Back in 1995, Michael Jordan rejoined the Chicago Bulls after short retirement and showed the world that he was officially back to his old tricks by lighting up the New York Knicks in their house with a "double nickel" (55 points).
Over the years since Jordan's performance in '95 at Madison Square Garden some players have come close to besting Jordan's record with some impressive scoring nights of their own, but no one has been able to score more than 55.
LeBron James came close with 50, Richard Hamilton and Jamal Crawford came a little closer with 52, but Kobe Bryant beat them all, including Michael Jordan, with 61 points at the Garden on Monday, February 2, 2009.
The man was just unstoppable! The word "unstoppable" gets thrown around quite a bit when talking about athletes, but on Groundhog day, everyone in Knicks uniform was seeing Kobe Bryant's shadow as he flew by anyone in his path.
Kobe was all over the place on the offensive end of the floor. He was hitting jumpers, draining threes and driving to the basket at will. Not only did he hit 19 of the 31 shots he took, but he was also lights out at the free throw line hitting a perfect and impressive 20 for 20 at the charity stripe.
Although this was without a doubt Kobe's night in history, he wasn't the only Lakers to go off against the Knicks on Monday as Pau Gasol drop in 31 points of his own while ripping down 14 rebounds in the convincing win over the Knicks 126-117.
Lamar Odom also had a decent game in his new role as a starter due to Bynum's injury with 14 boards, six points, and three blocks. He didn't have a great game offensively, but with Pau and Kobe combining for 92 points he didn't have to.
NEXT LAKERS GAME: Los Angeles Lakers @ Toronto Raptors Weds, Jan. 4th, 4pm PST