Bryant’s defender on the play? One Rajon Rondo, who lost his long-time antagonist and allowed Bryant to thrown down what Basketball-Reference has as his fourth dunk of the season.
And that honestly has us a little worried, since Bryant has missed time after two of his previous dunks. His first slam of the season came on Dec. 17 against the Houston Rockets, and he sat for one game with a sore shoulder. Then, after a dunk on Dec. 30, Bryant missed the next three games before Thursday’s matchup with the Kings. If we hear tomorrow that the future Hall of Famer is considering another night off, it shouldn’t come as a surprise — particularly with the Lakers at home for the next three games.
But let’s get back to the positives for Bryant. On his next basket, he became just the third player in NBA history (and the youngest ever) to score 33,000 career regular-season points:
With that turnaround bucket, Kobe Bryant becomes the third player in NBA history with 33,000 career points. pic.twitter.com/WlC2WZomox
The others to reach that plateau are Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). And if Bryant can figure out a way to score about 4,000 more points this season, he’ll even surpass Malone on the scoring list. You know, assuming he’s not regretting this dunk in the morning.