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Home - Golden States Says Hello to the Record Books as Bryant Says Goodbye to the NBA

  Golden States Says Hello to the Record Books as Bryant Says Goodbye to the NBA

kobe bryant

On the last night of the NBA's 2015/16 regular season all the playoff spots had been accounted for and people started making their NBA predictions. There was still magic in the air as the Golden State Warriors were set to tip off against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Lakers were hosting the Utah Jazz in the last two scheduled games of the season. With both games set to tipped off at 10:10 pm EDT, and there was still much left to do in the season.

In Oakland, the Warriors had a date with destiny and the NBA record books. They entered the game with an astounding record of 72-9. With one more victory, they would break the NBA record for wins in a season, besting the existing record of 72 games set by Michael Jordan and his 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile, NBA great Kobe Bryant took the court in LA for the last time in his brilliant 20-year career, of which all were spent with the Lakers.

Back in Oakland, it became immediately apparent that the Warriors weren't going to allow its opportunity to make history slip through its fingers. As has been the case all season long, the "splash brothers" took over from get go. In the first 12 minutes, PG Stephen Curry lit up the scoreboard with 20 points on 6-9 shooting from beyond the arc and 2 free throws. In the second quarter, the other splash brother, SG Klay Thompson, took over and scored 10 of his 16 first half points. When the Warriors went into the locker room with a 70-50 lead, the record seemed a forgone conclusion.

Back in LA, it was all about Bryant. Head coach Byron Scott had made it clear days in advance that Bryant would play most of the game and take as many shots as he wanted. To the delight of a sold-out crowd, that is exactly what took place as Bryant played with the same fire and intensity that marked his entire Hall of Fame career. After the first quarter, Bryant had 15 points, ending the first half with a game high 22 points.

Meanwhile, back in Oakland, Curry came out of the halftime locker room with 25 points and picked up where he left off by scoring 10 of the Warriors first 12 second half points. By the end of the third quarter, he had 46 points and the Warriors had upped its lead to 21. With the  NBA record just 12-minutes away, guaranteed league MVP Curry stayed on the bench and said goodbye to the regular season with an amazing NBA record and scoring title in his pocket. The final score was 125-104 in favor of the record-setting Warriors. Most NBA predictions have had The Warriors as future champions for a long time, and it is no surprise that they have been about to keep this pace going.

Meanwhile, who would have known the real magic was taking place back in LA. At the end of the third quarter, Bryant had 37 points, but his Lakers trailed by 9 at 75-66. What took place in the final 12 minutes is almost beyond human comprehension. As the Jazz and the Lakers battled back and forth over the first 8 minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lakers still found themselves trailing by 11 behind Bryant's 45 points. After the worst season in Lakers history, everyone would have understood if Kobe had left the game to wild applause while the rest of the team packed it in.

However, that's not Bryant's style. Instead, he once again loaded the team on his shoulders and scored his team's last 15 points to claim an amazing 101-96 come from behind victory. Bryant ended the game and his career with 60 points on 22-50 shooting from the field, 6-21 for 3-point country and 10-12 from the charity stripe.

For NBA fans, it was a bittersweet night. On one hand, they had to bid farewell to one of the all-time NBA greats in Kobe Bryant. He came into the league 20 years ago as a 17-year old boy. As the NBA's third all-time leading scorer, there is no doubt he leaves 20 years later as a man. On the other hand, fans were reminded that a great player in Stephen Curry will still be around in years to come to thrill fans with his amazing style of play. It's like a script from a Hollywood movie.

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