Last fall, Sports Illustrated and most other experts promised us a 2012-13 Lakers rose garden. Last night, at the end of a season that has turned out instead to be all about the thorns, Kobe Bryant willed his team to victory at Portland’s Rose Garden.

Bryant is doing things at age 34 that most NBA players ten years younger can only dream of. Even Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe, who just turned 85, is probably shaking his head over last night’s 113-106 one-man show.

So how are sportswriters describing Bryant’s season-high draining of 47 points in a place where the team usually gets stomped? Take your pick: “implausible” (LA Times); “epic” (ESPN Los Angeles); “thrilling” (Yahoo)…

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