Kobe Bryant still holds the record for the second-highest scoring half in NBA history. He torched the Toronto Raptors for 55 second-half points en route to his career-high 81-points back on January 22nd, 2006.
Bryant trails only Wilt Chamberlain's 59-point half during his historical 100-point performance. Thanks to those 55 points, he was able to lead his Los Angeles Lakers to an epic comeback, scoring 27 points in the 3rd quarter and 28 in the fourth to get past an 18-point deficit.
To put that performance into context, Bryant's 55 points over one half are more than what some of the greatest players ever had over a full game. Let's break it down:
Vince Carter - 51 Points
Vince Carter holds the record for most seasons played in the NBA with 22. However, he's never been able to top that 51-point performance he had back on February 2th, 2000; when he was still playing for the Toronto Raptors.
Carter scored half of his team's 103 points en route to a tight 103-102 triumph vs. the Phoenix Suns, introducing himself to the world as one of the league's rising stars. He tied his career-high a couple of times later over the years.
Hakeem Olajuwon - 52 Points
Hakeem Olajuwon had to do it all on April 19th, 1990 to try and lead his Houston Rockets to a win vs. the Denver Nuggets. However, the visitors got the best of them with a 130-127 triumph despite The Dream's 52-points.
Olajuwon knocked down 21 of his 34 field-goal attempts and 10 of his 13 free-throws. Also, he grabbed 18 boards, handed out 4 assists, and got 3 steals and 3 blocks, but his 11 turnovers may have cost them the game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - 52 Points
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the league's bigger entertainers right now. It looks like he's always about to do something spectacular, so you definitely don't want to miss a second of him on national television.
And he put a hell of a show back on March 17th, 2019, when he dominated the Philadelphia 76ers for 52 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists. Unluckily for him, the Sixers still hung on to a 130-125 victory.
Tim Duncan - 53 Points
Tim Duncan may not be remembered as a prolific scorer but as a game-changing defender and dominant rebounder. However, there was a time when The Big Fundamental could light up the best defenses in the world with ease.
He did so vs. the Mavericks back on December 26th, 2001 by scoring a career-high 53 points by knocking down 19 of his 28 attempts from the field as well as all of his 15 free throw attempts. Still, the Spurs lost 126-13 in overtime.
Moses Malone - 53 Points
We don't talk enough about Moses Malone, but he was one of the most dominant two-way players during the eighties, as you could tell by his historical 53-point outing vs. the San Diego Clippers.
Unlike most of the players on this list, his Rockets actually won the game with a 122-106 score. Malone went 19/30 from the field and 15/18 from the line to go along with 22 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block.
Dirk Nowitzki - 53 Points
Dirk Nowitzki completely changed the way the power forward spot was played. His shooting skills paved the way for modern-day fours and obviously, he has one of the highest-scoring games of the 21st century.
Nowitzki outscored Tracy McGrady 53-48 on an instant classic, leading his Mavericks to an overtime win over the Houston Rockets. Also, he grabbed 16 boards with 2 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks.
Stephen Curry - 54 Points
Stephen Curry is almost unanimously considered the greatest shooter in the history of the game. So, when you have those kinds of skills combined with a run-friendly offense, you'll have plenty of high-scoring outings.
Curry's career-high came on February 27th, 2013; long before he became a Champion. That night, his Warriors fell 100-105 vs. the New York Knicks despite his 11 three-pointers and the show he put in the Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Durant - 54 Points
It didn't take long before Durant became one of the league's deadliest scorers, as he won three straight scoring titles after just two seasons in the league. Notably, his best game came in 2014, when he averaged 32.0 points per game.
Durant gave the Golden State Warriors a glimpse of his greatness by scoring 54 points on 19/28 from the field, 5/9 from three, and 11/13 from the line. Also, he grabbed 4 boards with 6 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block.
Dwyane Wade - 55 Points
Prime Dwyane Wade was a major problem. You couldn't stop him, you could only hope to try and contain him, but that didn't always work, as he showed the New York Knicks back on April 12th, 2009.
The Flash took the Madison Square Garden for assault by scoring 55 points on 19/30 shooting, 6/12 from three, and 11/13 from the line. He also grabbed 9 boards and 4 assists, and the Heat won 122-105
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 55 Points
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) completely turned the Milwaukee Bucks around. He was the new superstar in the league and wanted to make sure everybody knew during his first couple of seasons in the NBA.
He surely did so when his Bucks beat the Celtics 120-104 thanks to his career-high 55 points on 23/36 shooting. He also grabbed 18 boards and completely dominated Dave Cowens on both ends of the floor.