You’re excused if you didn’t see this coming.
After spending most of the 2017-18 season in the NBA G-League with the Lakers affiliate, Bryant was dealt to Washington in the offseason. Due to an injury to Dwight Howard, Bryant has been thrust into the starting lineup over the last month.
The former IU big man put up some historic individual numbers on Saturday night in leading Washington to a 149-146 triple-overtime home win over Phoenix.
Perhaps Bryant has been watching former teammate Juwan Morgan, who has hit 28 of his last 34 shots and hasn’t missed a two-pointer since the Louisville game. Both players now wear the seemingly lucky jersey number 13.
At the same time that Morgan was busy recording IU’s first triple double in more than 45 years, Bryant was shattering his prior career best NBA numbers.
Bryant scored a career-high 31 points on a perfect shooting performance. He became only the fifth player to shoot 14-for-14 or better from the field in a game in NBA history. Bryant also went 3-for-3 from the free throw line. All 14 of Bryant’s field goals were converted within the restricted area.
The second and third overtime periods probably wouldn’t have happened without Bryant, as the New York native really got things rolling in the extra periods.
Bryant seemed to get stronger as the marathon game wore on. At one point, he scored 16 of 18 points for Washington across a stretch of the first and second overtime.
The 6-foot-11 Bryant nearly doubled his previous career high of 16, and also set a new career best with 13 rebounds. He only had one turnover on the night.
Bryant has started the last 18 games for Washington. He is averaging 8.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in those contests.
The Wizards returned to action last night against Indiana in a challenging back-to-back game after the three overtime contest. Bryant scored 11 points and added 7 rebounds but the former Hoosier did come back down to earth with a 3 for 6 night from the field.
The Washington Post reported on Bryant’s big night through the lens of something Hoosiers fans will surely remember — a high energy motor — propelled by the pursuit of perfection. The story provides insights from Bryant on how that enthusiasm created challenges at times during his time at Indiana.
You can watch highlights of Bryant’s big night below.
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