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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.
Comments

Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 12:19 am
 

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

I've seen many, many games in the 60's. My first live game I saw Wilt against Bellamy. In the early 60's, when Wilt scored 100, most centers were 6'7" - 6'9". I don't remember Wilt shooting much more than dunks, finger rolls and an occasional fall-away bank shot. He didn't have anything else. You're right Wilt was light on his feet and graceful. Shaquille had a higher FG & Ft% than Wilt and he didn't play against 6'7" centers.



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 12:08 am
 

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

Have to jump in here #1Cowboys, I have to question if you are old enough to have seen many games (whole games, not clips) of the late 60's. You must not have seen that many centers in the NBA of that era were more 6-8 to 6-10.

You would understand that big men were not given "the right of way" that Shaq had in his career. The refs made sure that Wilt had to avoid bumping his 6-8 to 6-10 opposite numbers or he would be called for the foul. He was not a product of the "star system" the NBA has run for the past 20 to 25 years. Unlike15 years ago and still to some degree today, the calls were the almost the same for stars and 6th men. Once you had position on defense, the offensive player could not back you down as they do now. The refs worked very hard to keep Wilt from using the brute force he had on other players.

The point being, if Wilt had been able to bowl over players like Shaq could, he would have AVERAGED 100 POINTS A GAME.

The way the game was called then was a huge advantage for rebounding but not for scoring because once you boxed out, you could not be pushed off your feet. Wilt had to be a better shooter than players do today.

And if Darryl Dawkins have been able to use his rump the way Shaq was allowed to, Dawkins would be HOF as well. He came into the NBA when brute force was called offensive fouls and left as the rules were relaxed.

Just a fact of life about the way the rules are applied now is quite different than 40 to 50 years ago. My friends who work as refs in high school laugh at how long you have to suspend a ball to get a traveling call at the high school and college level today as compared to when they played in the late 60's and early 70's. If you had watched any basketball as an adult in the 70's, you would know the NBA changed the way "carrying" was called because Magic Johnson blurred the rule. Today the call is almost never made.

We will never know how skilled Shaq COULD have become because he played in an era where he was allow to use brute force instead of having to be skilled. I can't see anyone blaming him for that because he was aproduct of the system.

Like Shaq, Wilt was a freak of nature. But Wilt was as light on his feet and more graceful than many of todays centers.

And your point on Shaq having higher FG% and FT% should mean he should have have higher scoring games.







Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:36 pm
 

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

So long as the entire basketball culture of the 1960s isn't based on KC Jones,
KC Jones is a HOFer...shouldn't he represent the "best" of the basketball culture of the 1960's with his 7 ppg, 3 rpg and 4 apg?



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:25 pm
 

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

If this is as good as it gets, I will say that I am obliged to think you are completely clueless about this.
The doctors of today are far more skilled than doctors in the 60's.  Police officers are far more skilled today than those in the 60's. Architects of today are far more skilled than architects in the 60's.  You've already stated there are medical advances and other improvements that would improve them physically. If the athletes of today are bigger, faster, stronger and can jump higher than those in the 60's why wouldn't it follow that they would also be more skilled? Why wouldn't they improve their skills as well, especially since they spend the full year improving their skills?

To think otherwise is 'clueless' and ignorant. 



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:52 pm
 

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

So long as the entire basketball culture of the 1960s isn't based on KC Jones, I guess I can understand what you believe to be a fact.
I also think you are wrong.

So carry on.

Grocery clerks?

If this is as good as it gets, I will say that I am obliged to think you are completely clueless about this.
And that will be my last word on the topic.







Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:47 pm
 

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

This is an observation. There is no evidence, stated, empirical or presumed, that supports this.
There is some real evidence that training and physical conditioning regimens have been greatly improved.
This is an observation based on the fact that the Bill Russell Celtics of the 50's and 60's did not have a player with a FG% >50%.  Even the big men routinely shot in the mid-to-low 40% range.  While the 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks had 6 players who shot >50% from the field.  Even a player like Dirk, who took 168 3-pt shots last year making 39%, shot 52% from the floor.  The players of today are full-time NBA players making millions, while many of the players of the 50's and 60's were part-time teachers, insurance salesmen and grocery clerks working in the NBA during the season.  The players of today are far more athletic and skilled because it is their full-time job.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:25 pm
 

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

I am also not clear that citing KC Jones' stats is direct evidence that the players of the 60s were mediocre.
One of the posts suggested that the players of the 60's that playerd against Wilt were better than the players that Kobe played against in 2006, listing all the future HOFer's in the NBA in 1962.  KC Jones was one of the HOFer's listed as an example of the high caliber of players in the 60's.
His stats say otherwise.
 
I can take one LeBron James off a team and turn a contender into a flat-out loser.

As well, I can sign Derrick Rose and suddenly we take a team that couldn't win 30 games but  now has the best W-L pct. in the entire conference.

One player.
My guess is the same would apply in the 1950's and 1960's.  If you took George Mikan off the Minn Lakers would they have won any championships? Doubtful.  Without Bill Russell would the Celtics have won all those championships in the 50's and 60's?  The Celtics were in the playoffs 6 years in a row prior to Bill Russell's arrival, but didn't win a championship until his rookie year. Would the PHI/SF teams have made it to a single NBA Finals without Wilt?  Highly doubtful.

Not much has changed regarding the impact that 'one player' can have. 



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:11 pm
 

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

The players of the 60's were not as athletic or as skilled as the players of today.  Plain and simple!

This is an observation. There is no evidence, stated, empirical or presumed, that supports this.
There is some real evidence that training and physical conditioning regimens have been greatly improved.
But you cannot say that "plain and simple!" there is any PROOF that players today have more skills.




Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:44 pm
 

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

Troy, all of your excuses about the refs, traveling violations, etc... didn't bother Jerry West, Oscar, Elgin, Petit.  If they weren't hamstrung by the rules why would Jordan, Dr. J, Kareem, Magic, Bird, Shaq, Kobe or any of the greats have been hamstrung.  Your argument is illogical.  The players of the 60's were not as athletic or as skilled as the players of today.  Plain and simple!  A player like KC Jones in the HOF is a joke, but is representative of the talent of the 60's.

Shaq would never score 100 because he isn't that skilled a shooter and he couldn't make foul shots either. Maybe Wilts overall record was p-poor but at times he made them and Shaq hardly ever made them.  
We'll never know if Shaq could've scored 100 because he didn't play agains 6'7" centers night after night.  Just to set the record straight...Shaq had a higher FG% and FT% than Wilt.  It might be nice if you had the facts.




Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:20 pm
 

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

I am also not clear that citing KC Jones' stats is direct evidence that the players of the 60s were mediocre.
I can't think that some of the crap that's playing in the NBA now is anything but overly tattooed, arrogant, invested in their own jewelry.

I can take one LeBron James off a team and turn a contender into a flat-out loser.

As well, I can sign Derrick Rose and suddenly we take a team that couldn't win 30 games but  now has the best W-L pct. in the entire conference.

One player.

That would suggest that quite a number of today's "stars" are mediocre.




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