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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.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:02 am

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

Since at every turn in this story, the writer shows there is no comparison between the two events, what's his point?

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:28 pm

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

I don't know, both scoring feats are beyond impressive.  The one thing that sticks out to me is that Kobe did this at a time where everyone is more athletic and faster.  Go watch a tape of any game back in the Wilts time and it looks like it is in slow motion compared to what we experience today.  You just can't argue it.

With that said, I still don't have an opinion on which is more impressive.  I mean, 100 points?  crazy...

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:06 pm

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

I have to say that the Toronto players were paid under the table to let Kobe score.  I just watched the clip and no one was trying to guard him.  There was no team defense at all.  That being said 81 is 81. Do you know how sore you would be just shooting that many times? Not all of them were layups and it was a great shooting performance if he was in a gym by himself.  I know he had to ice his arm after that game.  I dont think you can compare the 2 at all.  Wilt scored 100 and that is the holy grail. 81 is less than 100 and not up for consideration.

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:02 pm

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

Spot on Royce

Since: Jan 14, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:46 pm

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

He did score 50.0 per game

Since: Jan 14, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:40 pm

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

Kobe is is a darn BALL HOG Wilt had 100 in a game. Averaged 50.0 + a game 2 years and kobes BETTER?!?!?! HOW oh and may i mention that he hade like 7 BLOCKS and 15 boards a game to! Bryant was 19 short of it and he made alot of threes. Wilt couldnt have because there wasnt one.......

Since: Mar 2, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:53 pm

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

why is this even an argument is beyond me. ball hogs like kobe in their lifetimes will have the opportunity to score like that. there is no other player in nba history who demanded the ball more than kobe and likely he averages the highest amount of shot attempts. wilt just did not score 100 he did everything else such as rebounds and blocks. and don't use size and the dimensions of the basketball court as a reason. the opposing team had quality players, it doesn't matter what the court was like. like i said, put allen iverson in kobe's game and he would have scored 81 or more. heck put ray allen in kobes game and keep him open for threes he'll shoot light's out. give credence to scorers who just doesn't score, and for those that do, have better accuracy and efficiency.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:53 pm

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

"And for you to say the league was more competitve when Wilt player than when Kobe played his game is just stupid"

There were NINE teams in the NBA then. Wilt's Philly team and 8 others:

1) Boston Celtics - Center Bill Russell, PF Tom Heinsohn, SG Sam Jones, starting PG Bob Cousy, backup PF Frank Ramsey and backup PG KC Jones are ALL in the Hall of Fame as players. I would LOVE to hear exactly which team that Kobe Bryant has EVER played against, let alone 12 times in the regular season. Maybe in an all star game.

2) Cincinnati Royals - Oscar Robertson AVERAGED a triple double in '62 and Hall of Famer Jack Twyman.

3) Syracuse Nationals - Hall of Famer Hal Greer and Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes. 

4) St. Louis Hawks - Hall of Famer Bob Pettit, Hall of Famer Cliff Hagan, Hall of Famer Clyde Lovellette and Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkins.

5) LA Lakers - Hall of Famer Jerry West, Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor,

6) Detroit Pistons - Hall of Famer Bailey Howell

7) New York Knicks - no hall of famers but Richie Guerin was damn good.

8) Chicago Packers - Hall of Famer Walt Bellamy averaged 31 and 19 in 1962.

So basically EVERY team but one that Wilt played against that year had at least one player that would be elected to the NBA Hall of Fame. Can you say that about the 29 other teams that Kobe played against in 2006? GET REAL!

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:06 pm

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

Is this a joke ?  Kobe's doesnt even compare. The one game in Kobe's entire career where everything went his way. Absolutely everything and he still came up 19 points short. Wilt had an off night and still managed 100  and you ask whos was better ???

Since: Oct 1, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:30 pm

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

You clearly missed the entire point, which as I stated before and will repeat if you play basketball you know that it is MUCH harder to drive the lane and shoot jumpers than it is to shoot a 2 foot layup

And for you to say the league was more competitve when Wilt player than when Kobe played his game is just stupid

Defense is by far a lot more tough now, guys are more athletic, more teams, more development in college, etc

PS- As the article states, kobe shot 17 times less and 12 less free throws.  You mean to tell me he couldn't get 19 pts in those attempts?  He would easily hit 8 free throws at worst, and then would need to covert 6 shots out of 17 to = 20 pts

Eat some more Cheetos

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