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.
Comments

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:05 pm
 

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

One of the reasons for more footwork is when the U.S. game met up with the international game in the 1980s. International rules allowed for a step and a half and the U.S. guys were getting beat on defense by slower players because they weren't used to it.
Early in the 50s and 60s, the U.S. teams were so good, it didn't matter. But later, the European and S. American players got better and the step and a half was to their advantage.

The game has changed a LOT since the 60s.





Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:50 pm
 

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

#1Cowboys - I have seen some assinine responses but your's takes the cake. I didn't say anything about KC Jones in my blog.  And you are ripping me for justifying KC Jones election to the HOF.  My point was strictly that a lot of guys you really think are great would be hamstrung by the rules they played under in the 1960's or at least until Earl (THE PEARL) Monroe. 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. Shaq would also get called for travelling alot more the way they played (or game was called) back then. Back then you had to release the ball before you moved your other foot.  The play back then wasn't mediocre. The officiating was very tough. They probably only needed 12-14 officials.  Now you probably need 45-50. It's like umpiring in baseball. The more games the more qualified umpires you need. They don't grow on trees. The game today is totally different. The rules were laxed to open up the scoring and reduce foul shooting, and allow for more Globetrotterish moves. You just can't get it into your noggin that todays player offensively is allowed to do things that were not allowed back in the 60's.




Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 7:08 pm
 

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

Kobe is a ball hog.



Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:56 pm
 

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

Just saw a documentary on that game with players from the Knicks and from Philly. Wilts game was even more phenomenal than I originally thought.  Once it became evident that Wilt was going to make history on them thats when the Knicks begin fouling everyone but Wilt in order to stop him from scoring.  Philly retailiated by fouling to get the ball back and giving it to Wilt even though the Knicks swarmed him everytime he got the ball but he still scored with 5 people on him at times!  The game with Kobe looked like a tutorial on how not to play defense, man to man or team.  Toronto should have been contracted out of the NBA and its players dispersed to the other teams after that effort.  I learned long ago that my elders know more than I do.  I have yet to meet anyone that is from my parents generation that considers anyone other than Wilt as the greatest player ever.




Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:17 pm
 

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


The argument for or against KC Jones is largely of no value to me. I don't care if he's in the H of F or not. But I'd agree that most of the guys who play today should not be in there either.

H of F is for guys who excelled during their time and contributed to the game or their team. Does Boston win without KC Jones?
Probably.

But the argument here is Chamberlain's contribution.

Comparing him and his era to modern basketball is grossly unfair. If I took modern NBA teams back in time, they'd have to learn a different game. Would they win? There was not as much play "above the rim." No 3-point shot. No zone defenses.

You can never know for sure and that's true in any sport.








Since: Apr 8, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:03 pm
 

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

@two coach

You have to be the dumbest person on the planet. "THAT WOULD BE ELECTED  TO THE HALL OF FAME means when they are eligible. The guys Wilt played against were SKILLED enought that, WHEN ELIGIBLE, they were in the Hall of Fame.

As for that list of names you provided: Chris Webber, Gary Payton, Gilbert Arenas, Pau Gasol, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Joe Johnson, Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming, Chris Bosh, Grant Hill, Jermaine O'Neal, Chauncey Billups, Tony parker aren't EVEN CLOSE to being Hall of Famers. Get real. You can't name ANYONE that made an all star game at some point in their career and say they are a "possible Hall of Famer". That's retarded.



orly?



Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:45 pm
 

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

Its Impressive and all. More impressive is the Raptors decision to not double team kobe even after he had 50 at half time. And this was when he was everything for the lakers.



Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:44 pm
 

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

and he team didn't do much of anything other than give him the ball and get out of the wya.

Top notch journalism right there.  Just because the uneducated players say "he team", doesn't mean you have to.  And it's spelled "way" not wya.



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:40 pm
 

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

Twocoach, that is an ignorant comment.  No one who was playing in 2006 can be in the HOF because a player has to have been retired for at least 5 years, then elected the following year. Players who last played in 2005 are on the HOF ballot for the first time in 2012. So we won't know for 20 years how many players from 2006 are in the HOF.

You have to be the dumbest person on the planet. "THAT WOULD BE ELECTED  TO THE HALL OF FAME means when they are eligible. The guys Wilt played against were SKILLED enought that, WHEN ELIGIBLE, they were in the Hall of Fame.

As for that list of names you provided: Chris Webber, Gary Payton, Gilbert Arenas, Pau Gasol, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Joe Johnson, Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming, Chris Bosh, Grant Hill, Jermaine O'Neal, Chauncey Billups, Tony parker aren't EVEN CLOSE to being Hall of Famers. Get real. You can't name ANYONE that made an all star game at some point in their career and say they are a "possible Hall of Famer". That's retarded.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:18 pm
 

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

Troy, you can try to justify KC Jones mediocre stats citing different rules, referees, and styles all you want.  But all those things didn't seem to hamper players like Oscar, West, Baylor, or Petit.  KC Jones could double his points, rebounds and assists per game and those stats would be mediocre in todays game.  I think his play was a reflection of the mediocre play of the era. Chamberlain still played against 6'7" - 6'9" centers almost every night. Can you imagine Shaq playing against 6'7" guys every night?  He'd score 100 too.


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