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Heat rookie says LeBron James will soon pass Kobe's season-high score

January 11, 2012 |  9:34 pm

In Tuesday's victory against Phoenix, Kobe Bryant scored 48 points -- the most this season by an NBA player.

But according to Miami rookie Norris Cole, Bryant won't hold that distinction for long, because one of his Heat teammates will most likely surpass him.

"His name is LeBron James," Cole said in the locker room before the Heat played the Clippers on Wednesday night.

Entering Wednesday's games, James and Bryant were leading the league in points per game this season -- James was averaging 29.7 points,   Bryant  29.5 points.

Tuesday marked the 108th game in which Bryant scored 40-plus points. He had three such performances last season. 

James' highest output this season was 37 points against Dallas on Dec. 25. Last season, he also had three 40-plus point games, including a 51-point effort against Orlando in February. For his career, he's scored 40 or more points in 45 games.

Putting up big numbers, however, could be ill-advised in a compact 66-game season because of the risk of burning out.

Then again, we're talking about Bryant and James, whom Kevin Durant called "1A and 1B" in the league in an interview over the summer.

Exhaustion? A sprained wrist?

Neither has fazed Bryant, who followed his 48-point performance Tuesday with 40 points Wednesday to lead the Lakers to a 90-87 overtime win against Utah, increasing his 40-plus career point total to 109.


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Photo: Clippers guard Chris Paul, left, tries to steal the ball away from Miami guard Norris Cole during Wednesday's game. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times