In Kobe Bryant's 17-year career he has had many memorable games. However, when on the grand stage of the NBA Finals, there is only one that ranks above all others. In the opener of the 2009 Finals Kobe needed only 38 minutes to shred the Orlando Magic's esteemed defense for an all-around showcase of domination. Although the game was close in the first quarter with several lead changes and the Magic earning a boost from point guard Jameer Nelson, who returned from injury to provide a spark, it was a mere stumbling block for the Lakers and the production of the Kobe Show.
The Mamba posted 40 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers cruised to a 100-75 Game 1 win that pointed them toward an eventual title. Included in the onslaught was an 18-point, two-assist explosion to start the third quarter in which he scored or assisted on 23 of 27 Lakers points; by the time he was done, a 10-point halftime bulge had ballooned to 25.
While many may not rank this at the top of the list of Kobe's most decorated highlights, be sure to watch the video after the jump and reevaluate your thinking. It is simply one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history.