For the 26th time, Kobe Bryant was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for his performance in L.A.’s 3-0 week of March 21 to 27.
He was named Player of the Week three times last season (11/22/09, 12/20/09 and 12/27/09), and this is the first honor of the 2010-11 season, which comes at the conclusion of a 15-1 Lakers spurt out of the All-Star tunnel.
In the three wins against Phoenix, the L.A. Clippers and New Orleans, Bryant scored 42, 37 and 30 points respectively, an average of 36.3 per game to lead the NBA. The 42 was a season high, and came courtesy of a triple-overtime thriller in which he also added 12 rebounds and nine assists. It was the 107th 40-point game of his career and third this season. Only two players in NBA history – Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173) have more.
His recent scoring binge has vaulted Bryant past Derrick Rose (24.9) and Carmelo Anthony (25.1) on the league scoring chart, where he’s now fifth at 25.2 points per game.
*The NBA didn’t start rewarding Player of the Week awards for both conferences until 2001; previously, Bryant was named NBA Player of the Month once (December 2000) and NBA Player of the Week twice (April 16, 2000 and Dec. 24, 2000).