On this date in 2006, the crowd at the Staples Centre witnessed two of the best pure scorers of that time going head to head against each other. Gilbert Arenas who was for a couple of years one of the best scorers in the NBA torched the Los Angeles Lakers for a franchise record 60 points. Kobe on the other hand also had himself a night with 45 points, but that wasn’t enough to get the win against an unstoppable Arenas and the Washington Wizards.
This game was a classic showdown that went into overtime in which the Washington Wizards won 147-141. Both players were hitting every imaginable shot contested or not contested. Arenas finished the game with 60 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists while Kobe as already mentioned had 45 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. It’s also important to stress out Kobe was coming off a 53 point game.
After the game Arenas said this was the perfect opportunity for him to score 50 or more points because the game was tight until the last minute so he had to spend extra minutes on the floor
“It was bound to happen. “I’m a scorer, so I was going to have one of those days where I was clicking. Most of the time when I’ve scored 46 in three quarters, we were blowing the other team out, so I didn’t get to play in the fourth. But tonight was that time. It was a close game and I stayed in. I found the rhythm, especially in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and I never looked back.”
Kobe who is rarely impressed by other players said some of the shots Arenas were taking were simply awful but on the other hand
“Some of the shots he took tonight, you miss those, they’re just terrible shots, just awful. You make them and they’re unbelievable shots.”
Both Kobe and Arenas had tremendous scoring seasons that year. Kobe led the league with 35 points per game while Arenas was averaging a bit over 29 points per game. Unfortunately, both Lakers and the Wizards didn’t have enough firepower to fight for a championship that season even though they had two great individuals on their teams.