Kobe Bryant has shined as an individual this season despite his team's lackluster campaign.
With the clock winding down and the Los Angeles Lakers really needing a big bucket, everyone in the arena knows where the ball is going. And, whether he is twisting, fading, off-balance or wide open, Kobe Bryant usually delivers in the clutch.
This article is a celebration of Bryant's top scoring moments from the 2012-13 season. Inside you'll find a compilation of heavily guarded jumpers and timely finishes that have kept the Lakers in the playoff hunt.
On the year, Bryant has taken 1,317 field goals and converted 625 of them, or 45 percent. He is the third leading scorer in the NBA, averaging 27.0 points per game despite combating the wear and tear of his 17th NBA season.
Simply put, the man can score in bunches, especially when his team most needs it. Let's review some of the Black Mamba's most clutch shots of the year.
Sometimes Kobe Bryant is just feeling it. In those cases, it's best to give him the ball and get out of the way.
On Dec. 18, 2012, Kobe took matters into his own hands with time winding down at home against the Charlotte Bobcats. He not only drives to the cup with the strength and athleticism to score, but he can finish from the perimeter as well.
Bryant scored 30 points en route to a Lakers victory while also chipping in seven assists and six rebounds.
At times this season, the Los Angeles Lakers' offense has become so one-dimensional that the team solely relies on Kobe Bryant to keep them close.
As one of the most skilled offensive players in NBA history, Bryant has earned his stripes doing just that for his team. Check out his one-man assault on the Dallas defense during the fourth quarter on Feb. 24, 2013.
Once Kobe got that lock-jawed stare going, the Mavericks could do little to contain him. The Lakers won the game by a final score of 103-99 and Bryant scored 38 points.
To survive an uncharacteristically poor regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers have leaned on Kobe Bryant to be their finisher when the clock runs down.
Kobe can score in many different fashions. Just ask the Atlanta Hawks, who were victimized on March 3 by a Black Mamba floating lay-in to lose a close game at the Staples Center.
Bryant dropped in 34 points on the night, none as important as the two he registered with merely nine seconds to play. The Lakers held on to win by a score of 99-98.
Kobe Bryant will not let the Los Angeles Lakers die. No matter the deficit, Bryant will jack up difficult shots and make them with a higher frequency than anyone thinks possible.
A great example is his one-man comeback effort to lead the Lakers into overtime against Toronto in March. He was rising and draining threes from all kinds of angles with outstretched defenders flying by.
Bryant's killer instinct is renowned, but he earns it with emphatic slams like the one he threw down to close the door here against the Raptors.
After a shooting frenzy buoyed his team at the end of regulation, Bryant jammed an exclamation mark on one of his finer individual performances of the season.
Bryant finished with 41 points, 12 assists and six rebounds as the Lakers improved to 32-31.
The Los Angeles Lakers are scrapping for an eighth seed in the 2013 NBA postseason. Every night brings a different challenge and counts equally as much.
Without wily veteran Kobe Bryant to lead the way late in games, this team would have little chance to make noise toward the end of the regular season.
Fortunately for the Lakers, Bryant is still out there doing his thing, night in and night out. Take for example his most recent fourth-quarter outburst of 23 points to lead the Lake Show to victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
Bryant scored 30 on the game but was the deciding factor when it all shook out. At this point in the season, losing is not an option for L.A., and Kobe is doing everything in his power to keep his team afloat.