Blog Entry

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:10 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 11:54 am
Posted by Royce Young

In what world has 81 ever been better than 100? Maybe when you're talking about temperature, but not much after that.

But here's a time that 81 was greater than 100: Kobe Bryant's epic scoring night matched against Wilt Chamberlain's all-time point barrage.

Never would I imply that what Chamberlain did 50 years ago wasn't impressive. Scoring 100 points in a game isn't just impressive. It's drinking-a-gallon-of-milk impressive. It's something that's darn near impossible to do and takes a special, near superhuman individual to pull it off.

Still, Kobe's 81 was better.

Why? You could almost make a strong case that Chamberlain's hundred should include an asterisk. First, and this is unfair to Chamberlain, but none of us saw it happen. We don't know what it looked like, what it felt like, how that game went. There's no footage of it at all, only a little audio of him scoring the hundredth point.

Actually, it might be a good thing we never saw it. Because from accounts of how it went down, the Warriors spent almost the entire fourth quarter fouling to get the ball back and force-feeding Chamberlain the ball. New York coach Eddie Donovan said, "The game was a farce. They would foul us and we would foul them." Chamberlain's shot attempts by quarter: 14, 12, 16, 21. You think in a blowout in today's game that a team would keeping feeding their star like that?

Plus, the pace of the game in 1962 was far faster than was Kobe was playing with in 2006. Chamberlain had more possessions in the up-and-down game. There were 316 combined points in that game. It would take today's Lakers almost a month to score that many. (I kid, I kid.)

Then you have to consider that Chamberlain's points came easier. He was a post player that could be fed the ball and overwhelm his opponents. Kobe is a perimeter player that had to handle it and score by creating his own either off the dribble or with a jumper. Chamberlain overpowered smaller teams and smaller players. At times, it was like a college guy playing against middle school kids. Truly a man among boys. Chamberlain could just have his way.

It's no coincidence that when you browse the top point totals in a game, Wilt's name litters the list. It was a long time coming that he'd finally top the century mark. He scored at will because there was only one other player in the game -- Bill Russell -- that could really stop him. The guy that played most of the night against him -- Darrall Imhoff -- stood no chance. Not to discredit the talent pool in the 60s, but Chamberlain wasn't exactly facing elite big men every night.

Nobody will ever match what Chamberlain did though. Like DiMaggio's hit streak or Favre's consecutive games streak, it's one of those unbreakable records. The reason mainly is because nobody would have the gall to do what the Warriors did to get him there. Playing out the game in a blowout, blatantly running up the score, fouling to get the ball back -- can you imagine what would happen if someone did that today?

Say LeBron was going off and had 75 points after three quarters. The Heat are up 30. Erik Spoelstra leaves LeBron out there to pound the opponent, all while Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier take fouls so LeBron gets more shots. There would be week long panels devoted to ripping the team that did it. I think the Hall of Fame might have to make room for a new exhibit honoring the most explosive media backlash in professional sport history.

Kobe's 81 had everything going for it. It was a close game and Bryant just completely took over. The Lakers were down 71-53 and Kobe brought them back. He wasn't ever intentionally fouled, and he team didn't do much of anything other than give him the ball and get out of the wya. He played until the end, checking out with just a few seconds remaining. And despite playing a darn near perfect game with all the factors lining up, Kobe was still 19 points short. Consider this: After Kobe, the next highest total is 78 by Chamberlain, then 73 by David Thompson and Chamberlain. Even the greatest ever, Michael Jordan, topped out at 69. There's just no chance of anyone ever sniffing 100 points in a game again.

Still, Kobe's 81 was better.

The Mamba took 17 fewer shots, 12 fewer free throws, didn't have his team fouling to get him the ball, had fewer possessions and still only came up 19 short of Wilt. He scored 55 points after halftime. That's only 14 short of Jordan's career-high. Forget what math and maybe common sense tells you. Eight-one is greater than 100.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:08 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

It pisses me off that this article was even written.  a travesty

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:01 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Royce Young (hack writer)
you lost me with your first point
"First, and this is unfair to Chamberlain, but none of us saw it happen"
who gives a flying rat's ass if you didn't see it, it doesn't change the fact that 100 is grater than 81.

Epic Fail on this Article. Quit trying to make a name for yourself by posting stupid crap like this.  81 will never be better than 100 and you're a friggin idiot if you think otherwise.  100 points is 100 points and 81 points is 81 points, it doesn't matter how you get there 100 will always be greater than 81. 

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:39 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

The Raptors weren't even playing what anyone would call defense. They didn't contest shots at the basket. They feined jumping at the ball to act like there was effort. Any real defender would foul out before letting someone drop 81 on them. It was the worst display of defense that I have seen in my lifetime. Wilt's 100 points were better and it's not even close. After years of Kobe's 81 being discussed I'll never forget watching that Raptors Lakers game and being sick to my stomach afterward. Jalen Rose seems content to act like his effort to guard Kobe was really intense. He did much of nothing like the rest of his teammates. It was pathetic. At least the people guarding Wilt tried to stop him even though they couldn't.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:38 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Next thing you will write is that a 30 rebound game today would be better than Wilt's record of 55 which was against the Bill Russell and the Celtics. You state in your post that this is unfair to Wilt  as there is no video or real audio of the game  so your opinion is based on your assumptions. Why bother to write this post after saying that? Why didn't you look up how many points a game Wilt scored against Russell? Just so you know his high against him was 62 and he went for over 50 7 times. How about the fact that the the Knicks defensive effort, whatever it was was solely used in a futile attempt to stop him?

You just sound like someone who believes anything that happens recently is greater than what happened in the past. The reason Wilt's name dominates, not litters, the record book is he was the most dominating player in league history. The only litter I see here is your opinion

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:33 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

You should have left this article after the first sentence. Then it would have been accurate.

You're not going to find a lot of people who agree with you.  I totally agree with Royce.  You can't argue with any of his points. 

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:20 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Also worth mentioning is that LA was down by 18 against the Raptors early in the 3rd quarter, so they really did need Kobe to go off like he did if they wanted to have a chance of winning.

Since: Dec 3, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:18 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

You should have left this article after the first sentence. Then it would have been accurate.

Since: Mar 2, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:57 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Agee with you 100%.  Other facts from the game.  The Knicks starting center Phil Jordan was out sick.  Backup center Daryl Imhoff started. He fouled out after  playing only 20 minutes.  The rest of the gane Wilt was guarded by 6-7 Cleveland Buckner and 6-6 Dave Budd.   The last 5 minutes of the game was a joke.  Wilt was the only 76'r to attempt a field goal .  The 76'rs were just trying to get Wilt the 100.   This would not be done today.

Wilt took 63 shots and made 36,  Thats only 58%.  Amazingly Wilt was 28-32 from the free throw line.  Philly scored 169 points.  Wilt scored a 59% of those points.

Lets go to Kobe's game.   It was a close game with the Lakers only up by 6 after three q's ,  all of his points we're scored in trying to win the game.

The Laker roster looked liked an expansion team other then Kobe.  The only decent player on the team was Lamar Odom.  The rest of the starting lineup consisted of the infamous Smush Parker at the point and Chris Mihm and Kawanee Brown upfront.  The benck was led by Sasha Vucivic and brian Cook.  It was not a goodteam.  The Lakers scored 122 points.  Kobe scored 66% of the Lakers points.  I heaard someone on TV said that Kobe took a loy of shots.  He did 46 . !7 less then Wilt.  He made 28 of them shooting 61%.  He also was good from the line shooting 18-20.  A lot of foul shots but 12 less then Wilt.  Kobe was helped by the 3 point rule making 7.   

In case your interested Wilt played on a pretty good team.  Guy Rodgers and Al Attles were the guards and Hall of famer Paul Arizon and Tom Meshary were upfront.

To be I'll take KObe's game

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:22 am

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Scott Skiles 30 assists were better than both of them. ;)

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