MEMPHIS, February 2 – Four-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant became the Los Angeles Lakers all-time scoring king Monday but it wasn't enough to beat the Memphis Grizzlies.Bryant equalled a season-high with 44 points as the Lakers wrapped up their eight-game road trip with a 95-93 loss to Memphis.
Bryant entered the game needing 28 points to equal Jerry West for the all-time franchise lead. West, who played his entire career with the Lakers, earned 25,192 points in 14 seasons.
"It is a great honour," Bryant said. "With all the great players that have played here and the rich tradition we have. This is a great honour."
Bryant, who was playing with a sore finger and sprained ankle, scored on a dunk with just over four minutes remaining in the third to pass West.
"He (West) taught me so much when I was 17 years old about the game." Bryant said. "Even though it is me passing him in the record books, I feel like it is still us."
Jordan Farmar grabbed a loose ball in the Grizzlies’ end and drove to the basket alone with Bryant. Farmar dished the ball to Bryant for the easy dunk.
The 31-year-old Bryant, who is in his 14th season, missed his first three shots in the game, but had 23 points in the first half.
He now has 25,208 career points and moved to 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
The loss ended the Lakers win streak at four games and dropped them to 5-3 on their road trip which ended Monday.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he was happy for Bryant and that the players were aware of the significance of the game but the scoring record became a distraction at one point.
"At the half I told the guys he’s (Kobe) forcing the action and to get him over hump so we can start playing team ball out there," Jackson said.
Bryant finished 16-of-28 from the field and went four-of-seven from three-point range on his milestone evening.
"It was inevitable he was going to break the scoring record," West said of Bryant last month.
Lakers Ron Artest had a chance to win the game with a three pointer at the buzzer but his shot from the right side bounced off the back of the rim. Artest had 18 points and Pau Gasol finished with just 10.
Zach Randolph had 22 points and 17 rebounds for Memphis, who ended a two-game losing streak.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 25 points and Lester Hudson had 13 points.